Éowyn Emerald and Dancers

A young man waited outside the Greenside Royal Terrace Venue for Éowyn Emerald & Dancers to appear after their performance. He greeted them with effusive praise and said, ‘You brought tears to my eyes twice’. His remark is typical of the comments made about this fifty-minute programme consisting of eight short works.

You brought tears to my eyes twice

Éowyn Emerald & Dancers has established itself as a favourite at the Festival Fringe and its following has increased year on year since its debut in 2013, with 21 sold out performances in 2016. Last year they were absent as the Company relocated from Portland, Oregon to Aberdeen. It was a bold and brave move that also means the membership of the company has changed significantly. With Emerald still leading the way the she has found three other dancers that match her style and methodology. Chase Hamilton is from Portland, although still a new addition. Katie Armstrong and Jack Anderson are both form Scotland and both trained at Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance. James Mapes continues as her lighting designer.

Playing yet again to full houses in their usual venue, the Company has clearly already gelled into a unified troupe since their reconfiguration. Emerald has clearly found people with whom she can work and who respond to each other. There is an obvious affinity between her and her female partner. The men are matched in stature and physique that enhances the visible unity of purpose they share in their performances. Together they interact as a coherent ensemble. With just four dancers there is space for solo bravura, intimate duos, traveling trios and varied quartets. The opening piece makes a statement from which the rest of the programme seems to follow. It is an introduction by the whole company that seems to say, ‘This is who we are. This is what we do. This is our life and enjoyment. Welcome to our world’.

As is so often the case with Emerald, the titles of her dances give little away. Make what you will of made {in}, aka: We. Together. Stand., p|L ies, Chicken Keys & Bat Caves, your tomorrow and aka: How many more. There is clearly considerable emotion attached to these works, yet the feelings they evoke might vary significantly from person to person and the titles allow for that. It is part of the fascination the abstract nature of her dance holds. Her choice of music ranging from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross to Debussy to Ólafur Arnalds is suggestive but not exclusive in its enhancement of her intentions. All this supports the strength she and her dancers possess. Controlled extensions give way to fluid floor work that rises to energetic travel while rhythmic routines and repeated mechanical motifs contrast scenes of lyrical tenderness.

Scotland has been blessed with a dance company that will surely become regarded as one of its own. As it’s national significance rises and its international reputation spreads it would be wise to get in on the act while you can.

Reviews by Richard Beck

Arcola Theatre

The Game of Love and Chance

★★★
Lion & Unicorn

Two Worlds No Family

★★★★
Jermyn Street Theatre

Mr and Mrs Nobody

★★★★
The Space

Helium

★★★
Southwark Playhouse

Exile

★★
Rialto Theatre

The Tragedy of Dorian Gray

★★★

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Éowyn Emerald returns following her sold-out 2016 run with a new program showcasing her striking choreography and outstanding company of dancers. Physical, poetic, technically demanding and emotionally complex, don’t miss this exciting dance maker’s newest creation for the 2018 Fringe. 'Éowyn Emerald has become a buzz name on the Fringe dance scene since her last visit and from this it's clear why. Finding dance that is accessible, communicative and emotionally vivid while never compromising on precision and creativity is a rare treat' **** (List). 'A real Fringe find' **** (Scotsman). ***** (BroadwayBaby.com). **** (Times).

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