Binari at Edinburgh festival review – dancing of infinite delicacy

Assembly Hall, Edinburgh
Based on the songs and dances of traditional Korean funeral rites, this charming show conjures an astonishing atmosphere of beauty, grace and peace

When a traditional dance form is uprooted from its local culture it runs the risk of losing its integrity or its life. But Binari, an unexpected charmer of a show that’s based on the songs and dances of Korean funeral rites, makes the journey to the western stage with real grace.

On paper it sounds forbiddingly austere, its narrative essentially the rite of passage by which the soul of a dead woman is released into the afterlife. Yet Binari is choreographed with such a satisfying fusion of dance, music and imagery that the work feels anything but remote. There are moments of simple but expansive beauty: a spiralling ensemble of shadow dancers who weave a pattern of lighted lanterns over the woman’s dead body (represented on stage by a mask and winding sheets), or a duet where the female shaman sings to the woman’s soul and the latter responds with dancing of infinite delicacy.

Related: Edinburgh festival 2016: the shows we recommend

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Source: Guardian Dance News

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