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Celebrate with us and get to know the fantastic dance companies performing at the 2017 International Festival.

International Dance Day happens every year on the 29 April, marking the birthday of Jean-Georges Noverre, the considered creator of modern ballet, to celebrate the universality of the art form and its ability to transcend any barriers and bring people together.

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Dance is a language, and as in love, the most beautiful things are said through the body
Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker

This year’s message comes from acclaimed dancer, choreographer and dance theorist Trisha Brown who passed away earlier this year on 18 March. She said: “I became a dancer because of my desire to fly. The transcendence of gravity was always something that moved me. There is no secret meaning in my dances. They are a spiritual exercise in a physical form.” To read the full message, visit the International Dance Day website.

Most recently, Trisha Brown Dance Company performed a triple bill at the International Festival in 2007. Interestingly, one of the works, Canto/Piano, was choreographed to extracts from Claudio Monteverdi’s opera L’Orfeo, which you can hear on 14 August this year as part of a three-concert series celebrating the 450th anniversary of the composer’s birth. But back to dance.

Looking for more insights into the world of dance we revisited our archives. Last year, when Scottish Ballet presented Crystal Pite’s work Emergence at the International Festival, we had a chance to talk to her about how she became a choreographer and the intense joy that comes with being completely absorbed in the act of creation: “My own best experiences as a performer have been those moments when I’ve forgotten everything else, I’ve forgotten myself, I’ve left my ego behind, I’ve left my fear behind, my doubt, and I’ve just been completely present and connected.”

In 2017, whether you are just beginning your adventure with dance or are a seasoned aficionado, you are invited to explore the worlds of contemporary dance, hip-hop, flamenco and dance theatre at this year’s International Festival. We are thrilled to have some fantastic dance companies coming to Edinburgh and in a celebratory spirit of International Dance Day, we would love to encourage you to give dance a go this summer. To help you find a performance you may like, we've lined up some video teasers below. You can also listen to our new weekly playlist featuring music by Max Richter and Steve Reich used in a couple of dance works this year. Enjoy!

Nederlands Dans Theater

Considered by many to be the finest dance company in the world, Nederlands Dans Theatre are presenting a powerfully contrasting triple bill: a surreal Lynchean thriller The missing door; a mediation on time and memory Shoot the Moon; and an unsettling glimpse into three couple’s love lives in Stop-Motion.

Nederlands Dans Theatre is on 21-23 August at Edinbugh Playhouse.


Iconic work Rain by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, a choreographer equally popular with audiences as adored by critics, is an unbridled expression of joy set to Steve Reich’s iconic minimalist masterpiece Music for 18 Musicians.

Rain is on 25-27 August at Edinburgh Playhouse.

Boy Blue Entertainment

This award-winning East London hip-hop company brings two bold and brilliant dance creations to the International Festival: tightly choreographed Blak Whyte Gray set to a ground-shaking electronic score, and a premiere of their new show Project R.E.B.E.L.

Blak Whyte Gray is on 16-19 August at The Lyceum. Project R.E.B.E.L is on 19 & 20 August at Castlebrae Community High School.

Yo, Carmen

A pioneer in contemporary flamenco, iconoclastic Seville-born dancer and choreographer María Pagés and her company bring a visionary and flamboyant performance of Yo, Carmen, blending dance, music poetry and theatre.

Yo, Carmen is on 12 & 13 August at Edinburgh Playhouse.


A real treat for children and families (but not only!), this magical dance theatre work Vuelos inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings invites you to contemplate the dream of being able to fly.

Vuelos is on 11-13 August at Church Hill Theatre.

Photos Credits:

Nederlands Dans Theater © Beth Chalmers

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