Dance, Physical Theatre & Circus Review: TUTU, Dance In All Its Glory

Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Less than a minute in, the laughter begins. Standing on stage are six male dancers, the lower half of their bodies covered in pink padded netting; bottoms twitching at us like flowers quivering in the wind.

Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33)

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It’s a routine that says to the audience right from the start – you’re here to have a good time.

And so it continues, as genre by genre the world of dance gets an affectionate tongue-in-cheek dig. Whether they’re delivering the famous Pas de Quatre from Swan Lake, dancing a Strictly Come Dancing pastiche or affectionately mocking the seriousness of contemporary dance, the performers of French company Chicos Mambo have comic timing down to a fine art.

But of course none of this would work unless they also had the technical skill to carry it off – which they most certainly do. Five dancers teeter across the stage in pointe shoes, eliciting plenty of laughs as they bemoan the pain involved – but then the sixth man arrives, clearly at home in the shoes, and dances a beautiful solo worthy of any classical ballerina.

Because being funny isn’t the sole pursuit here – for every Dirty Dancing spoof or spangly gymnastics take-off, there are moments of true beauty. An aerial routine which finds one dancer wrapped in silk cloth, spinning until he’s almost a blur as his single pointe shoe twirls on the ground, is utterly mesmerising. And, happily, such moments are clearly just as appreciated by the audience as the guffaw-inducing comedy.

The person responsible for all this is choreographer, Philippe Lafeuille – a man whose love for dance, and quest to make it as accessible as possible, shines through in every step.

Until 28 August. Today 4pm.