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Edinburgh Fringe 2015

4×4 Ephemeral Architectures

Gandini Juggling

Genre: Ballet, Circus, Dance, Physical Theatre

Venue: Assembly


Low Down

Four dancers and four jugglers perform together pushing the limits of each other’s craft in a beautiful and entertaining show.


4×4 Ephemeral Architectures is an ambitious and entertaining show integrating juggling and ballet. Yes, this does sound like a strange pairing but after a while you get used to seeing both onstage at the same time and sit back to enjoy the creativity. What do they both have in common? Well, precision of placement and timing for a start, plus they both require a laser sharp level of concentration for choreography of movement and coordination.

The four ballet dancers dance intricate classical and contemporary choreography, the four jugglers juggle balls, clubs and rings in complicated patterns and polyrhythms – and at some point we wonder if there will be any crossover – the answer is yes, in various degrees, which is fascinating. It’s not all action either; there are spoken words and phrases from both groups of ballet dancers and jugglers. All performers are very accomplished at what they do so it is a pleasure to watch and see how they cleverly push the limits of each other and their craft. There are moments resembling rhythmic gymnastics from the grace and athleticism of the dancers when holding or moving with juggling clubs and balls.

They interact in all ways possible through acrobatics, contact dance, working together in pairs, trios, larger combinations, using the space in geometric designs and with the objects used in juggling. They become playful and even a little competitive, which is fun. In the middle there is a stunningly beautiful movement piece with rings where jugglers and dancers work together melding their art – it transcends juggling – it is breathtaking, and the best example of layering both disciplines in the show. There are several standout short duos with a female dancer and male juggler that work especially well together because of their chemistry and ability to crossover into each other’s skills effectively.

Lighting and special effects complement the imagery and narrative beautifully. The creative team is distinguished: Directed by world renowned juggler Sean Gandini, choreographed by the Royal Ballet’s Ludovic Ondiviela, with original composition, Suspended opus 69, by Nimrod Borenstein, this innovative project takes both dance and juggling further, reinventing both somewhat. The performers now have a unique opportunity to apply techniques discovered in this project to enhance their own work in the future, which is very exciting. Gandini juggling has integrated movement in prior shows, but this is the most ambitious to date and it is very successful, a must see show!