Note: This review is from the 2015 Fringe

@ Summerhall, Edinburgh, until Sun 30 Aug 2015 (times vary)

London’s boldest dance theatre brings Vera Tussing Projects’ T-Dance to Summerhall, exploring how can we touch without touching, or even without leaving our seat.

Four dancers, two male and two female, greet us as we enter the bare canvas of the studio theatre setting, its black drapes the only backdrop. The dancers enter connected to each other with bamboo sticks and move around the space using subtle improvisation and spoken descriptions, each of them taking the lead on issuing commands that define how they should all then move. This sequence seems to last an eternity.

They also invite the audience to engage with them, picking people out depending on what they are wearing, calling us to inhabit the same imaginative space, through the imagined touch that they describe.

Another set sees the dancers connecting to each other using lifts, with three performers at any one time lifting the remaining one. At one stage, two members of the audience are asked to volunteer to experience being lifted—connecting to the dancers through trust. The second volunteer is lifted through a series of dips and twists, allowing her to feel what it is like to be on a rollercoaster.

This is billed as dance, but perhaps this is a slight misnomer. It is a bizarre piece, that fails to really connect with the audience, despite this being their intention. With its limited use of music and any real physical movement, apart from the odd lift, the audience are often willing something more exciting to happen. The most engaging part of the programme is when, with shards of light move across the black drapes, the dancers make a “whirring” sound in the pitch black dark with their poles. However, this performance is definitely not going to be everyone’s cup of tea.