Edinburgh Festival Fringe: There once was a time when tap dance troupes and jazz bands were ten a penny, regularly entertaining the masses in theatres and onscreen.
Dance Base (Venue 22)
Today the latter is thin on the ground and the former is virtually non-existent.
Which is why in 2014, artistic director Avalon Rathgeb formed dance company Old Kent Road to help “tap dance be seen by people of all ages, backgrounds, genders and cultures, and to see the positivity the form brings”. It’s a laudable ambition and one which, on the evidence of debut show Fall Out, is paying dividends.
Six dancers, backed by a tight three-piece jazz band and vocalist, use three long wooden boards as their stage. Dressed in sharp grey silk outfits with matching shoes, they open the show with an ensemble routine that sends the feel-good factor in the room sky high. There’s not a weak link between them, each confidently gliding in and out of moments of group unison and technically challenging solos.
As the show progresses, the troupe splits into twos and threes, showing us what they’re made of as individual dancers before building it back up. All the while, the superb musicians match their every move with a suitable groove. So in sync are they that at times there’s a kind of call and response from feet to instrument.
Fall Out is, apparently, a show about falling out of love – but if there is a narrative here, it’s a subtle one which I for one failed to spot. But then what need is there for stories when the choreography and execution is so slick and dynamic?
Old Kent Road has hit on a gap in the dance market – long may they continue to plug it.
Until 13 August. Today 4:30pm.