The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, among many things, is one of the world’s most celebrated venues for cultural diversity and international exchange. Rootless champions that virtue, boldly displaying an artistic and cultural melting pot that, while lacking direction, still manages to leave you breathless from the raw, authentic talent of its artists.
Rootless is more fusion concert than theatrical production, focusing on the interchange of music, dance, and song within three diverse cultures: Indian, Egyptian, and Spanish. The Rootless Company is “a collaboration of Edinburgh-based artists with diverse ethnic backgrounds” founded two years ago, during the 2016 Festival Fringe. The company features three strong female dancers, Inma Montero (Flamenco Bailaora), Iraya Noble (Egyptian Dance), and Gaby Albornoz (Indian Classical Dance), with musical accompaniment by Danielo Olivera (Voice & Cajon), Daniel Martinez (Flamenco Guitar), Alex Cooper (Sitar) and Ali Rahmani (Egyptian Percussion).
The ceaseless, almost impossible energy of Rootless’ star dancers, Montero, Noble, and Albornoz, is award-worthy. Their passion, not only for the craft but for their distinct heritage, shines through. The performance begins as a lyrical introduction to each culture, the dance seamlessly transitioning into collaboration and conflict. Each artist imitates the other, test each other, teach one another, and ultimately learn from each other. It’s a simple yet profound message on international relations, and how artistic collaboration brings us closer together without losing sight of our “roots”.
The title of the show is perhaps a misnomer, as instead of suggesting “root-less”-ness, they primarily focus their efforts on the pride of their distinct heritages (or “roots”). There doesn’t seem to be a defined narrative guiding the audience through the performances (though individually intoxicating), as it is divided up into smaller pieces, or stories, that each tell their own tale. While a dazzling display, I found myself itching for more guidance, more of a linear storyline to guide me through the breathtaking presentation. The content is impeccable and interesting, but the structure of the program felt unfinished. Despite the lack of cohesion, you’ll find yourself swept up in the passion and drama of their artistry. The talent and heart which went into this fascinating choreography is undeniable.
Poignant, proud, though somewhat wanting, Rootless is a worthwhile display of how diverse cultures can build a global relationship through artistic communication.
LifeCare Edinburgh, George Young Hall, Venue 524
18th and 25th August
Buy Tickets Here
Image: The Rootless Company