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Edinburgh Fringe 2019


Robbie Synge and Lucy Boyes

Genre: Contemporary, Dance

Venue: Dance Base


Low Down

“Ensemble is a joyous expression of togetherness involving five performers in their 30s-70s. Gather with the group on a journey that lays bare their strengths, efforts and possibilities together and aims to uplift and surprise. Expect a series of physical interactions that aim to test and challenge expectations of age in performance. Ensemble is the result of the group’s work over a six-year period to challenge their physical possibilities together. This process has built a friendship and understanding reflected in dance sections of tightly coordinated timed choreography to daring acrobatics and precarious balances.”


A pile of bodies in a carefully designed shape is on the floor in a spotlight. Pulsating music with a strong beat – and suddenly feet flex, arms bend and bodies move with rhythm and finesse. Three female and two male dancers of different ages – ranging from 30s to 70s have been working as an ensemble for six years. In this piece of contemporary dance the group is also acrobatic, doing daring balances and the dynamic movement throughout the show is a joyous event.

Working together in physical contact, they create interesting spatial forms. Huddling and then expanding the space with small bounces, they create symmetric shapes like a kaleidoscope. Interesting short solos by each dancer show a range of movement styles, with strength, grace, humour and wit. One does a bit of tap dance in bare feet, while two others are more balletic. However, as the piece progresses their foundational dance evolves into visceral contemporary movement.

The show is well put together by choreographers and co-directors Robbie Synge and Lucy Boyes. A duet has movement and stillness and is warmly received by the audience. Next, a fascinating dance conversation is set to bright and melodic guitar music. The dancers share interactions in this playful moment.

Three female dancers perform a sequence on the floor then with jumps that is spontaneous and fresh. Two male dancers stand opposite each other in a fun judo inspired duo.

Ensemble really is an ensemble of dancers who enjoy dancing together and it shows. They lift, carry and balance each other, which requires great trust – especially a strength balance with a rope between two women! The individual personalities of each dancer show through and they all perform in several sections, transitioning seamlessly as the dancing flows.

Dancers: Judy Adams, Angus Balbernie, Robbie Synge, Christine Thynne, and either Lucy Boyes or Hannah Venet, depending on dates.

A highlight is a charming and unusual solo dance with two glasses of water by one of the women, a truly mesmerising performance set to upbeat music, with a twist at the end!

The show is full of wonderful movement, sensitive dynamics, strong and free, pensive and moving. Sometimes more time than is needed is devoted to a segment or two and could benefit from tightening up a bit. This is a very special group – they are so inspiring – and watching this show will make anyone want to dance all the way home!