Fringe Theatre review: Arab Arts Focus - Dance Double Bill

Arab Arts Focus: Dance Double Bill | Summerhall (Venue 26) | Star rating: ***

It’s not actually possible to review the Dance Double Bill, because it doesn’t actually happen. The two performers due to deliver it aren’t in Edinburgh, they’re at home contemplating the British Home Office’s decision to refuse their visas (Nagham Saleh, a single, young female dancer is too big a flight risk, apparently). And so, in the spirit of “the show must go on,” both pieces are shown on video.

With Mayhkomsh, it’s barely a glimpse of what the piece has to offer; a two-minute segment in which Saleh’s body judders on the brink of something… but what, we’ll never know.

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Running Away is shown in its 17-minute entirety – nothing like the impact it would have live, but still an arresting piece. Created by Palestinian-born choreographer Yazan Iwidat, it finds dancer Hamza Damra attached to the wall by a large band. As he dances, we hear Iwidat’s poignant thoughts about home and the need to escape judgement.

In a bid to flesh out this diminished showcase, choreographer Shaymaa Shoukry enlisted dancer Mahmoud el Hadad at the last minute to perform her challenging work, The Resilience of the Body. Ten minutes of constant running in a circle peppered by powerful comments, it’s not an easy watch, but that is very much the point.

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• Until 27 August. Today 1:35pm.