And we’re back. It’s August 2022 and the Edinburgh festivals are up and running at full force. Calls to build back smaller after the pandemic are dwarfed amongst the human-sized posters and specially erected spiegeltents. Added to the (seemingly?) louder criticisms of the inaccessibility of the festivals, in particular the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, for working-class and disabled artists and artists of colour, and the detrimental effect of short-term lets on affordable accommodation (amplified in but not unique to August), this year Edinburgh also saw rail and bin strikes visibly change the streets. The Fringe Society decided not to bring back their booking app, a decision widely criticised and no doubt felt by smaller shows. All amidst an impending cost of living crisis. Covid-19 still wormed its way into people’s plans and visa issues for visiting performers were not uncommon.
What can experimental dance offer and where does it sit in this maelstrom? And how should it be responded to? The race for shows to get their 4 or 5 stars – stickers at the ready – and the subsequent loss of nuance is a well-trodden path. But I look for a different set of numbers to tell the story of dance at this Edinburgh Festival Fringe.