Taiwan Season: Bout Summerhall, Edinburgh * * * *
The four siblings of Chang Dance Theatre demonstrated that last year with their exploration of brotherly love and discord, Bon 4 Bon. Now they’re back – well, three of them anyway (the fourth is in another excellent Taiwan Season show at Dance Base, Floating Flowers) – and once again taking their fraternal bond as the starting point.
Bout is also inspired by televised boxing – the posturing, theatricality, physicality, and relationships between those in the ring, from boxers to referees. Then there’s a nod to the rough and tumble of wrestling and the leg-work of martial arts, but ultimately this is a contemporary dance show filled with smooth movement.
The intuitive connection between the three brothers is evident from the start, as they walk briskly around the stage, so close their backs and chests are touching, completely in step with each other.
Air punches from the training gym sit alongside sudden bursts of graceful synchronised choreography; a moment of stillness staring out into the audience is replaced by combative movement where you can almost see them scrapping as children on the living room floor. The dynamic between the trio is as fluid as their bodies, shifting from opponent to protector, bystander to participant. The music, too, has an eclecticism that appears to have little relevance to the subject matter but brings a fresh energy injection with each change of direction, from traditional Taiwanese to classical to funk.
Until 25 August