If you walk past the front of Dance Base in the Grassmarket you will see a small white dome that looks like it should be in a fun fair. Inside this dome is a 360° cinema experience that celebrates the expression and exuberance of dance. Once you enter the dome, you will be seated in a low slung deckchair, making it possible to look up and view the projected videos.
Three different pieces are shown during the 35 minute time slot. All three attempt to make use of the 360° dome, however they are let down by the canvas that the video is projected on. The dome itself is not an adequate cinema experience. Lighting in the room is too bright and the texture of the screen causes the videos to appear out of focus and grainy.
The purpose of the space is to create an immersive experience, but the projection issues distract from the video and cause the visuals to look unappealing and gaudy. Also the fact that the videos are projected to the ceiling of the dome means the viewer is constantly craning their neck to get the full experience. This is uncomfortable and not exactly immersive.
The first video in the Dance Dome is entitled The Beautiful (directed by John Colingswood). This video, along with its follow up The Sublime, are abstract in nature and present what can be achieved with the medium of dance on film excellently.
The third video is entitled Pal O' Me Heart and is a narrative film set in 1916, presenting the homosexual relationship between two young men in Ireland. This dance film was based on a piece of dance theatre which has toured throughout Europe to great acclaim. Watching Pal O' Me Heart raised interest in the piece itself, despite being marred by the limitations of projections.
The Dance Dome is a good idea, however the lack of clarity in the projections let the experience down. From the outside the dome appears to be a novelty and from the inside the gimmick is obvious and badly implemented.