How do we move on after the death of a loved one? This is the question asked by Fleur Darkin’s Miann. Performed by Scottish Dance Theatre with live music accompaniment from Glasgow-based band the One Ensemble, Miann is a powerful exploration of relationships and loss. The title comes from the Gaelic word for desire, although, fittingly, it can also mean craving or longing. By using the small performance space to her advantage and incorporating intense, tactile choreography, Darkin has created an extremely personal production that is sure to delight theater goers, those who do not necessarily seek linear narratives in particular.

Two lovers, Francesco Ferrari and Amy Hollinshead, tell a bittersweet story through much of the piece's dancing. In an animalistic frenzy, Hollinshead depicts the anguish of losing a loved one, and the work questions whether we really ever truly move on from grief, even after accepting the loss of a departed. The transferral of the dressing gown between the lovers is particularly poignant and although the performance is sensual, it never strays into vulgar or smutty territory – even during the sections where the dancers are clad only in their underwear.

Any discomfort the audience did feel came from the overly close proximity with the performers. Without a raised stage, they came face to face with and right up to the audience to stare eerily at us, or rattle wooden sticks at our feet. Unfortunately, the seating arrangement wasn’t the best and, occasionally, it was very difficult to see what was going on. But, on a meta level, this poor layout contributed to the intimacy of the piece, with the audience having to invade one another’s personal space to get a reasonable view. The performance area itself was simply, but effectivly designed. A beaded curtain separated one half of the stage from the other and a roll of Astroturf served as a serene setting for the calmer sections – as well as providing a cushion when one of the dancers was forcefully thrown to the floor.

The live band contributed to the production as much as the dancers did themselves. This collaboration between Scottish Dance Theatre and the One Ensemble was a serendipitous accident – Darkin had discovered the Glasgow-based quartet when both companies had performed at the same venue during last year’s Fringe. Their unique sound, drawing from a mixture of Eastern European and Celtic folk traditional music, was hauntingly minimalistic and the vocals created a melancholic longing well suited for the piece. The use of silence was just as important as the music itself and the sudden contrasts added to the unease and excitement of the dance, especially when the dancers kept dancing in silence.

Juxtaposition played a big role in the eclectic choreography: some dancers were more balletic and elevated at the same time as others were floppy; some performed languid arabesques while others flapped frenetically. The cast was very strong and talented, and handled the challenging choreography very well, particularly the more acrobatic lifts. I really liked Matthew Robinson's slow backbend into a crab position.

It wasn’t until the very end of the performance that the dancers were in unison, with a mechanical yet beautiful circular tribal dance, presumably symbolising the passage of time and reminding us that no relationship can last forever. Although it was clear the dancers were pushing and exerting themselves, they never seemed to be struggling or out of their depth, and the combined efforts of everyone involved made for a very moving performance and a great evening out.