Dance review: Something Old, Something New, Edinburgh

When award-winning choreographer Matthew Bourne calls you “the reigning king of contemporary dance”, you know you’re something special. Back in 1997, when David Hughes played the lead in Bourne’s all-male Swan Lake, there was no doubting his technical ability and stage presence.

Something Old, Something New - Traverse, Edinburgh

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In recent years, Hughes’ place in the dance world has been called into question. Two below par productions, Last Orders and The Chinaski Sessions suggested that David Hughes Dance might have had its day.

So what a wonderful, and very welcome surprise, to discover that Hughes’ latest tour, Something Old, Something New is not just a return to form, but the mark of an even brighter future for the company.

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As the title suggests, the evening features old favourites and a brand new commission – with not a weak link amongst them. From the physically punishing work of Tanja Liedtke, through the deep contemplation of Robert Cohan, cheeky wit of Bourne and atmospheric drama of Cathy Marston, the sheer diversity of the choreographers involved makes for stimulating viewing. But not only has Hughes pulled together a world class line-up of dance-makers, he has also recruited a superb team of dancers to perform the work.

Hughes himself, now a more mature dancer, still commands the stage with Cohan’s solo, Adagietto. Bourne’s Spitfire, a tongue-in-cheek look at the world of male underwear advertising, has just the right amount of camp machismo, while Marston’s Walking Shadow, a powerful take on the final hours of Lady Macbeth and her husband, is ripe with emotion.