Watch: Edinburgh International Festival releases film following local dancers

They stunned audiences with their precision performance at last year’s Edinburgh International Festival.

And now a short film has been released following three emerging Scottish dancer as they joined the world renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater on stage.

Alvin Ailey was a visionary choreographer and activist with a global impact. His career began in a time when opportunities for African American dancers were limited, but he strived to create a space for Black artists to express their experiences and heritage.

He founded Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, America’s first black contemporary dance company in 1958 and it was one of the first companies to welcome dancers of all races and backgrounds.

Since its inception, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has showcased the work of diverse choreographers, amplifying a myriad of voices alongside Mr Ailey’s own.

In May 2023, Edinburgh International Festival issued an open call out for a cohort of 25 diverse and dynamic emerging dancers aged 18-25, who lived in, were born in, or trained in Scotland.

They would rehearse at Edinburgh College with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and perform with the company in its classic piece Memoria, at the Festival Theatre in Edinburgh in August.

Following the call out, 137 dancers from around Scotland were invited to audition and 25 were handpicked by Ronni Favors, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Rehearsal Director.

As well as running the the auditions, she was brought from New York to Edinburgh by the company to run rehearsals and teach the choreography.

The dancers were filmed throughout the audition and rehearsals, and the resulting short film, A Dancer’s Dream, documents the journey of three dancers, Alana Cowie, Gregor Campbell and Kathleen Lawlor.

Throughout the film they rehearse and prepare for their performance with the company – their first professional job as young dancers.

‘The International Festival believes that the arts are for everyone and aims to connect with people of all ages, both locally and internationally,’ said Caroline Donald, head of learning and engagement at the International Festival.

‘The talent development opportunity offered through Memoria allowed the International Festival to connect emerging dancers with one of the world’s leading dance companies in one of the flagship performances of the 2023 Festival programme.

‘Projects such as this reaffirm our commitment to making a significant contribution to nurturing emerging talent on and off the stage, by connecting and inspiring a future generation of Scottish and international arts leaders.’