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Dance Review: Rambert 2016 tour

Jo Turbitt reviews the latest tour from the famed company.

Rambert’s triple bills usually serve up a good evening of work that offers us an insight into the different characteristics of the companies talents and abilities; the collection of work performed here is a nod to the post-modern and the traditional. If anything it’s too heavy on the post-modern and, unfortunately, after the first two pieces one was left yearning for tradition which was delivered in delicious abundance.

Lucy Gerin’s Tomorrow (**) has visual potential which is left unexplored, undeveloped and ignored; the piece is disjointed and lacks coherency in structure, development and form. The two sides of the stage couldn’t have been further apart: on one side the choreography is very unique, articulate and curious, but it is matched with a mundane presentation of pedestrian gesture, the latter feels like an add on. Gerin should cut the troop of pedestrians and make the brave choice of fully exploring the quirks of her movement voice in her army of creatures.

Frames (***), choreographed by Alexander Whitley, definitely gives much more of an impression of the dancers’ technique, capability and prowess. Whitley incorporates a really interesting use of lighting and shadows, of trios ricocheting off each other and textures versus simplicity. However, for the majority of the piece this gets muddled in his exploration of dancers leaving something in the space. This intention, which clouds the work, left me with the image of alternative uses for the pieces from an IKEA flat pack metal shelving unit.

The third and final piece, the saviour of the evening, was Christopher Bruce’s Ghost Dances (*****). Bruce’s delicious movement vocabulary is vibrant, delicate, touching and gorgeous. Masterfully mixing hints of character with his sumptuous unison, rippling into textures and poignancy. As brilliant today as it was back in 1981, Bruce’s work has stood the test of time and will continue to do so: why can’t every piece be like this?

Ghost Dances left the audience bubbling with elation after two pieces that simmered below boiling point. The evening as a whole brought into question the dance company’s programming. By all means show us the new 21st century ideas and end the night with established repertoire, but don’t forget about the other voices in dance, in choreography: the humorous and the emotive voices that are as equally hard to perform and would turn an evening that is weighted with the new and undeveloped (with the well established work blowing them out the water at the end) into an evening that has something for every dancer, every audience member and presents who Rambert are today.

Reviewed at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre, the production continues its tour of the UK.

Tags: dance

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