Dance review: Scottish Ballet: Spring!, Eden Court, Inverness

SOME people like their dance edgy and interesting, others simply want to be entertained. Meeting the needs of both those audiences with one work is a challenge for any choreographer, but one which Sophie Laplane – a woman in the infancy of her career – rose to like a giant.

Sophie Laplanes Dextera often has you laughing out loud

Scottish Ballet: Spring!, Eden Court, Inverness *****

Inspired by the role our hands play in creativity, and to celebrate Scottish Ballet’s 50th anniversary, Dextera is Laplane’s fifth work for the company, and by far her largest and longest: 20 dancers, 45 minutes, and not a single one of them wasted.

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Working closely with designer Elin Steele, Laplane has created a smart, quirky, funny yet accessible work that constantly surprises. The opening image of a red glove falling from above sets the scene for a series of smart vignettes of ever-changing permutations.

Stiff, marionette-like bodies are carried on and off stage by dance partners, who then manipulate them via Steele’s clever costumes. Each lift and hold takes the movement down an unexpected avenue, and as Laplane fills the space with bold images that often have you laughing out loud, you quickly relax into the idea that this work will never stop giving.

For over 40 years, Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Elite Syncopations has been pleasing audiences with its kaleidoscopic costumes, punchy choreography and live ragtime band. So it goes without saying that the second half of Spring! is a complete joy that has the audience in the palm of Scottish Ballet’s hands. - KELLY APTER