Choreographers: Kim Brandstrup, Malgorzata Dzierzon, Itzik Galili
Reviewer: Helen Tope
Celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, Rambert may be Britain’s oldest dance company, but it continues to push boundaries.
Challenging our preconceptions of contemporary dance, Rambert brings a triple bill of new and established work to Plymouth. A Linha Curva made its debut in 2009, and is so well established it has become a set work on the GCSE Dance syllabus. Based on Latin American rhythms, the evening ends with a bang as A Linha Curva takes to the stage. Bold graphics and sharp lines from choreographer Itzik Galili make this dance eminently watchable. The score leans heavily on percussion, giving the dance a spontaneity that feels entirely natural. The dancers improvise and riff like jazz musicians– you listen to the notes not being played.
Alongside the classics, Rambert introduces a brand new work, Flight. Choreographed by Malgorzata Dzierzon, Flight takes its cue from the recent migration crisis with Dzierzon utilising her own experiences of migration and travel, plus images, stories and snatches of conversation. Staged simply with a few walls to act as boundary and gateway, the ensemble work together in a dynamic of slow, measured movements. The most conceptual piece, Flight is non-narrative in its design, allowing the audience to find their own way in.
Transfigured Night completes the trio of works, and is choreographed by two-time Olivier Award-winner, Kim Brandstrup. A large-scale work set to the music of Arnold Schoenberg, Transfigured Night takes its inspiration from Verklarte Nacht, a narrative poem by Richard Dehmel. A woman confesses to her lover that not only has she been unfaithful to him, she is now pregnant. The piece moves from rejection to reconciliation as the lovers realise that their love is strong enough to overcome infidelity. Transfigured Night moves between the sweeping romanticism of Schoenberg’s score, and the nervy, hesitant shaping from the dancers. Lifts become exaggerated and achingly beautiful. The dancers articulate the fear of being abandoned, and the ambiguity of an ending where a relationship, once changed, is never the same again. For better or worse.
The accessibility of Rambert is evident in tonight’s audience; every age group represented and in good numbers. With little narrative intervention, the audience is free to explore their own ideas within the dance, and each dance has its own personality. The cool stillness of Flight could not be more different to the athletic exuberance of A Linha Curva.
The three dances come together to form a great introduction to contemporary dance. The addictive qualities of the craft, the style and the attitude explain why Rambert has so many dedicated fans. To see Rambert perform just once is an impossibility.
There is a democracy in movement that is non-verbal, meaning there is no right or wrong way to read what is happening onstage. Everything is possible, and everyone belongs. It’s a potent way of looking at the world, and one that’s very necessary right now. The challenge is to lose yourself in the dance, and when the dance is this good, where else would you want to be?
Runs until 2 December 2016 | Image: Hugo Glendinning