Dance reviews: Dive and Odyssey, by Scottish Ballet

Two new online films show Scottish Ballet are a digital force to be reckoned with, writes Kelly Apter

A scene from Dive, by Scottish Ballet

Scottish Ballet: Dive and Odyssey ****

A word of advice for anyone about to view Scottish Ballet’s new short film, Dive: leave all your expectations behind. For nothing, literally nothing, happens as you might think.

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A work of collaborative genius, milking the best elements of dance and film for all they’re worth, Dive once again positions Scottish Ballet as a force to be reckoned with in this field. The gentle opener, with solo piano accompanying slow, contemplative moves from a lone dancer, gives no hint of the surreal, avant-garde wonder to come.

A scene from Dive, by Scottish Ballet

Choreographer Sophie Laplane is already synonymous with quirky yet wholly accessible works that give an audience’s minds room to breathe. With Dive, her free-flowing ingenuity meets the expert eye of director Oscar Sansom and the dramatic vision of co-creator James Bonas. What a formidable team they make.

There are moments of tender beauty, sharp synchronised movement and surprising wit, all performed in a glorious world of blue and white. And what happened in the editing suite was just as creative as the rehearsal room.

Nicholas Shoesmith’s Catalyst was a highlight of the 2020 Edinburgh International Festival and marked this emerging choreographer out as one to watch. His latest short film Odyssey sees him continue to give us beautiful choreography, great musical choices (Squarepusher and Craven Faults) and an imaginative outlook.

Inspired by gaming, the piece inhabits an alternative reality populated by otherworldly beasts. But as the focus shifts back and forth between what we see (a bare space) and what the protagonist sees (multiple dancers, a different terrain) you wonder if playing this game is perhaps a little more satisfying than watching someone else do so. That said, the pas de deux/two-player game that closes the film brings real finesse and excitement.

A scene from Odyssey, by Scottish Ballet

For details of how to watch Dive and Odyssey, visit

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