Review: Edinburgh University Dance Performance

Pleasance Theatre, Edinburgh. March 2011.

****

This annual performance, now in its 26th year, showcases the university’s diverse range of dance societies. It was a visual treat: always energetic and enthusiastic, with some pretty awe-inspiring moments. Edinburgh Bhangra Crew opened the night with Chak de Phatte (Energy of the Punjab), an infectiously enthusiastic beginning to the show. One of the nicest aspects of this show is how much all the dancers seem to enjoy themselves, and the Bhangra Crew certainly set the tone for the rest of the night: fast-paced, loud, and with a ton of glitter.

The first half of the show then ranged from the Hellenic Society’s stoic traditional dances to the sparkly-pants clad Portuguese and Brazilian Society. A particular highlight was the Pleasance Dancers’ hip hop routine Just Dance 4 Me, which I was genuinely blown away by: the choreography was superb and the dancing – which included a sneaky backflip – was somewhat awe-inspiring (and I say this as someone who went along to a few early rehearsals before realising that I couldn’t make my head, arms, and legs do different moves all at the same time). The addition of live music to some of the pieces – from the African and Arabic Dance Society’s fabulous African Delight to the reliably fun Edinburgh Samba School or the gospel quartet that closed the show – was an especially nice touch, and allowed yet more university talent to shine.

Special guests Siamsoir opened the second half of the show with Warrior, which showed off their impeccable footwork.  Standing out in this half were also Swing Dance Society with the energetic and stylish Zoot Suit Riot, and Pleasance Dancers’ jazz routine Stay Too Long. I wasn’t aware headbanging was a choreographable art, but the latter taught me otherwise.

Consistent throughout these extremely varied performances was a fantastic sense of fun: all the dancers seemed to be enjoying themselves, and the audience certainly felt similarly, wooping and clapping along. It really was inspiring to see the extent of opportunities for getting involved in dancing here: whether you fancy Lindy Hop, Tango, break dancing, or maybe just wearing a fabulous head dress on stage, we do seem to have it all.

Originally published in The Student.

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