Participation is key in this dance film event, which brings together footage of the Home Front during the Second World War, with live performances and dance. The Belgian dance studio Bal Moderne specialise in bringing experienced choreographers together with an inexperienced audience in their performances.

Led through expertly and considerately by the choreographers and dancers, the audience get a taste of how those at the Home Front learnt to forget for a couple of hours. The performance, as part of the Edinburgh International Festival (EIF), drew in a varied crowd of 1940s enthusiasts, people who wanted a bit of a dance, and seasoned EIF theatre goers. Pathe film footage was spliced with live piano sessions an announcer, who described the glorious endeavours of the Home Front in Britain, and performances of wartime ditties.

Set brilliantly at the Hub to resemble a real wartime ballroom, the afternoon was only slightly hampered by the over-sale of tickets which made the dances unwieldy at times. The dances were a little on the complex side for true beginners, and alcohol-wearied festival goers, though the occasional wrong step was giggled at, rather than chastised. Go along if you’re interested in emerging yourself into the carnivalesque escapism of the 1940s.
Words: Austin Coyle

Bal Moderne: Escaping War, The Hub, Aug 15 – 17, 14:30

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