Dance review: No Man is an Island & My True North, Edinburgh

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AT A festival designed specifically for children, it can sometimes be as interesting to watch the audience reaction as the show itself.



This double-bill from Netherlands-based Arch 8 Dance Group is a case in point.

Few, if any, of the young people present will have seen anything like it before – so the company had its work cut out, performing modern dance to uneducated palettes.

But despite the three school groups in the audience causing their teachers strife by talking or standing up, it was always to comment upon something they had just seen, or crane for a better view.

In short, Arch 8 caught, and held, their attention.

My True North opened the show – a duet that borrowed elements from robotics, parkour, post-modern dance and gymnastics, then turned them into something completely new.

Leaning against each other, almost like conjoined twins, the male and female dancers performed just enough flips and tricks to impress, but not too many to dilute the intelligence of the choreography.

No Man is an Island instantly grabbed our attention, when one half of the duo was dragged onto the stage face-down by a stage hand.

“Is he dead?” enquired one child, earnestly.

No, but for the next 20 minutes, his fellow dancer acted as if he was, manipulating his limp body and balancing on top of him, without ever touching the ground.

The fascinated stares and open mouths in the audience said it all.