“Dance in All Its Glory” is how the TUTU men are pitching their Fringe performance and glorious it is. It is also joyful and funny and beyond energetic. Tutus and tulle do feature heavily, and it transpires that they are a surprisingly versatile materials. You can go classic (with briefs) or down to the ankles in frills to create an almost bear like lower half, or even put it on your head to become a fruit of some kind.
You remember that Taylor Swift video with the offensive ‘take’ on various types of dance? This is what it wanted to be and so much, much more. No type of western dance or representations of dance are safe, including what’s best described as Strictly Come Look at My Balls in a Room. The comedy is pitched brilliantly. Any good clown needs incredible skill to make it look easy while playing for laughs and it’s present here in abundance. Swan Lake has never looked as strange or wonderful with breakdancing swans and a mismatched prince and princess bounding about in gold and falling over each other.
There are quieter pieces interspersed in this largey comedic affair. One, which involved only the moving of arms and shoulder blades, is mesmeric. In another, a rippling face speaks to you, contained in someone’s torso. Another still includes a body in a perpetual whirling state, attached to the ceiling by wrist only. Pearlescent and taut, the owner of the body in question exhibits a zealous commitment to his movements, sweat spraying across the stage. Throughout the show, stunning illumination from the sides picks out body parts that appear to be glowing from within as they move in harmony.
There are few words from this multilingual troupe known as Chicos Mambo, but those they do speak are wisely chosen. They offer a glimpse into the life of a dancer: “Do your parents know that this is your job?”; “Are you gay?’” What they perform is absolutely not what you’d call ‘classic’ dance and yet somehow emphatically is. The tango is strong and sexy, as it should be, but happens to be danced by two men who look like Sally Bowles.
A boundless knowledge of dance shines throughout, but alongside that raw skill is an absolute love and reverence for the medium. Dance in All Its Glory is intimate, even in its large setting, and with its mixture of ensemble and solo performances presents something different with each piece.
Being no expert on the technicalities of dance I can’t speak to the quality of the dancers’ form, but every ounce of each body in TUTU was surging with movement, precise and elegant to the untrained eye. And, also as a non expert, I recognised Swan Lake, The Magic Flute and (of course) a take on Dirty Dancing. There is so much to enjoy here that I don’t think you need any special expertise to get your money’s worth out of this show, but I’m confident those who do will appreciate it on a whole other level.
The Pleasance Grand is not a small space but it looked totally full when I went, so I’d recommend getting on this one quick. My mouth was hurting from about twenty minutes in; I spent the entire performance either laughing or with my jaw open.
TUTU: Dance in All Its Glory runs until 28th August at the Pleasance Courtyard, 16:00.