Dance review: Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, Edinburgh

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WITH the boundaries between ballet and contemporary dance becoming increasingly blurred, it can be difficult for the public to know what to expect. Having ‘ballet’ in a company’s title is no longer a guarantee of pointe shoes and tutus.

Festival Theatre


Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet is a wonderful example of how exciting a fusion of these two dance genres can be – especially when you add an international twist.

Hailing from New York, there is a definite North American edge to this company: the way the dancers move, their attitude, their speed. Yet the work they perform is undeniably European.

The night opened with Jiří Kylián’s sublime Indigo Rose, with its clever and witty shadow play, and dramatic shimmering silk sheet carving up the stage. Edinburgh audiences are no stranger to Kylián’s work, but how fascinating to see dance created for Nederlands Dans Theater performed by an American company.

Norwegian choreographer Jo Strømgren is known for his theatricality, and his Necessity, Again ended the night with a real crowd-pleaser.

A backlash against using words, rather than movement, to express emotion, the piece makes striking use of paper – with thousands of small squares thrown into the air and scattered across the stage with abandon.

Strømgren’s use of the dancers, however, felt less strong, which is why, for me, Crystal Pite’s compelling Ten Duets on a Theme of Rescue was the highlight of the night. Five dancers fused together in various pairs, who took us to the heart of their love and troubles with a rare beauty.