Natalia Osipova and Guests at The Festival Theatre as part of this year’s Edinburgh International Festival has to be one of the dance highlights of the year for so many people. Anyone who might have expected a classical ballerina like Natalia Osipova who is at very top of her profession to have come to town with classical works might have been in for a surprise, as this show has her moving into contemporary dance with three highly innovative works, and of course the results are stunning.
The opening performance “Run Mary Run” is a 1960s themed homage to a girl meets bad boy story set against some of my favourite music. I have to admit loving for a long time the music of groups like “The Shangri-Las” and “The Crystals”, so as soon as the opening bars of “Walking In The Sand” began playing, this performance had me hooked.
This performance with Natalia Osipova as Mary and Sergie Polunin as Jimmy is wonderfully directed and choreographed by Arthur Pita, with Luis F Carvalho capturing the flavour of that iconic 1960s look.
With its theme of doomed love, sex and drugs and rock’n’roll, this work is a little bit like one of those iconic 1960s Federico Fellini films meeting the world of dance. There are adult themes here and the theatre does carry some advance warnings about them, but everything has its part in the story of Mary and Jimmy.
Performance Two “Qutb” takes the Arabic word for “pivot or axis” and with dancers Jason Kittelberger and James O’Hara, Natalia performs a stunning piece choreographed by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui that is a display of not only fluidity, but the balance and power that a dancer’s body is capable of. With its Arabic soundtrack, there is something almost hypnotic in sounds and visuals to this piece.
Work Three “Silent Echo” choreographed by Russell Maliphant sees Natalia dancing with Sergei Polunin a visually beautiful and technically outstanding piece of work that, although contemporary, is maybe the piece that brings the dancers back onto a more classical styled piece that is maybe more familiar for some members of the audience.
Through all three completely different performances with different dancers, Natalia Osipova is simply outstanding, and has undeniably made a massive statement to the world of contemporary dance that “Natalia Osipova is here too”.
Review by Tom King