Dance review: Ignite, Traverse, Edinburgh – ‘A joyous night from start to finish’


A breeding ground for hip hop talent, street dance studio House of Jack also knows how to throw down a challenge. I defy anyone to watch the studio’s young company, Groundbreakers (formerly the Mini Jackers) without wearing a constant smile. Trust me, I’ve been trying for years and haven’t managed yet. The moment this bunch of 10-14-year-olds bounce onto the stage and start popping and locking, it’s the dictionary definition of joy. Slightly more refined but no less fun to watch, are Out of The Box, the studio’s older youth company, who take the technique up a notch.

A night of home-grown hip hop theatre, Ignite brought both groups together and then showed audiences (and the young dancers themselves) what can happen next. Three adult companies, WAMNAM, Scottish Breakers and TMRW Crew, took us on a journey, exploring the digital age, how we deal with obstacles in our path, and human relationships respectively.

Refusing to break eye contact with their phones as they almost sleepwalk around the stage, the WAMNAM dancers eventually wake from their digital slumber and connect. Demonstrating the highs and lows of creating work for an internet audience, this tongue-in-cheek piece used wit to make serious points, and slick, synchronised moves to demonstrate their talent and skill.

Scottish Breakers, meanwhile, have an old-school charm that lights up the stage, as they execute head spins and windmills to prove we can all battle our way through adversity. Finally, TMRW Crew, ably choreographed by Nevil Jose and Ursula Manandhar, showed how emotionally resonant hip hop dance theatre can be. Backed by a combination of heavy beats and gentle piano music, their bodies intertwined like a tapestry. Capturing our ability to love and heal, they brought down the house in the process. A joyous night from start to finish.

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