Edinburgh International Festival: Enrique Cabrera has been creating shows for children and young people for more than 20 years, and has learned more than a few lessons along the way.
Church Hill Theatre
One of them is how to keep minds from wandering, how to re-invent a performance constantly so that nothing lingers too long, and how to create one dazzling visual image after another.
All of which can be found in Vuelos, a homage to Leonardo da Vinci and his obsession with flight.
Cabrera is the man with the vision, but much of the applause for Vuelos must also be directed at composer Luis Miguel Cobo, whose cinematic score carries the audience along through moments of beauty, playfulness and curiosity.
Likewise designers Ricardo Vergne and Elisa Sanz who, much like da Vinci before them, give us one remarkable prop and costume (often the same thing) after another – all related to flight or da Vinci’s artistic output in one way or another.
Large black feathery wings are strapped on and flapped; a giant wooden puppet, like an artist’s jointed manikin, is walked across the stage.
A long table (reminiscent of The Last Supper), populated with wooden cups and cutlery, is used for comical dining by the five dancers.
Cleverly designed horse costumes see them clip clopping around the stage stylishly; and long mirrors cast witty reflective images out into the audience.
Every minute of this is done with grace and sophistication, yet perfectly pitched for all ages to enjoy.
With so many items to strap on, climb through and dance round, the dancers of the Madrid-based company Aracaladanza never falter.
Along with all of the above, Cabrera has filled the show with gentle contemporary dance choreography. It has been so subtly embedded into the action that it becomes like breathing, easy to watch and accessible to the core.