Rambert Dance Company is back in town, this year bringing their Seven for a Secret… tour to the Theatre Royale in Brighton.The company has led the way in contemporary dance in Britain for the last 85 years and remains the most creative and distinctive in the country.
The evening featured three separate dances, as is the Rambert way, each completely different to the others. This evening featured performances of Roses, Seven for a Secret, never to be told, and Elysian Fields.
Mark Baldwin, the company’s artistic director, told us that although the three pieces are not linked as such “each affects the way in which you see the other.
The first, Roses, choreographed by Paul Taylor was set to one of Wagner’s more romantic pieces. It featured five couples, each in quite simple dress, the men in grey trousers and black tops and the women in elegant black dresses.
Each couple was presented individually and although the dance was quite sensual it wasn’t over sentimental. At times it was similar to ballet in the movements and the way the dancers moved around the stage but there were also some cartwheels and lifts which were more contemporary.
The music, Wagner’s ‘Siegfried Idyll’ fits the piece perfectly before Henrich Baermann’s ‘Adagio for Clarinet and Strings’ introduces a final couple, all in white. Their solo dance is tender and has a number of graceful lifts, but when finished they were absorbed aback into the group.
The performance was beautiful and it seemed to suggest the idea of relationships as both an individual experience between different couples as well as its influence on the larger community where different relationships co-exist in harmony.
Of course, I’m no dance expert and I could be completely off the mark, but that’s how I read it. For me this was the most traditional of the three contemporary pieces, if there is such a thing. It was enjoyable and the dancing was lovely, both strong and tender in equal measure.
The second dance, choreographed by Mark Baldwin, was in complete contrast to the first, and explaining his earlier comment. Compared to the simplicity and grace of the first this one seemed to look at how children view the world and as such the movements and actions were very different. A freedom and imagination was represented, and there was the use of many props, from pillows to tea parties.
Most of the dance featured on small groups, and solo performances, and was constantly moving with the next dancers entering the previous setting. This gave the piece energy and life as one dance never really finished, they just seamlessly over-lapped giving the audieance a look at how children interact on their own and in larger groups.
I really liked this piece, the way the dancers moved really expressed the way children think and act, at times it was quite sweet and at others it was amusing. It reminded me of being little and reading Enid Blyton books and Peter Pan, children immersing themselves in a world of fantasy but with the odd bit of reality, such as a bedtime tantrum.
The final piece, choreographed by Javier De Frutos, was again completely different. It was inspired by the works of Tennessee Williams and used a dialogue very effectively. It was darker and much more adult and used music adapted from A Streetcar Named Desire, the 1947 play directed by Williams.
It echoed that story although I’ll not give too much away as I think you should see it, for yourselves, but the dance was tense and aggressive. At times a whirlwind of bad news, fights and abuse were depicted and the dancers made excellent use of the shapes and physicality of their bodies when they were so close, albeit not intimate in the romantic way. Where the previous piece was energetic in a vibrant way this one was energetic in a dramatic and often violent way, which really kept you engaged.
The three pieces made for a really interesting evening, and I found that because the dances were based around a story, or a concept that was easily understandable, that this dance, compared to some others with more abstract themes, they were very accessible.
The physicality and the energy that the dancers brought meant that the audience couldn’t help but pay attention and the varying styles of dance shows that Rambert has some very talented dancers indeed.
If you have the time to go and see this production then I really urge you to try something different and do it. Contemporary dance, for those who don’t dance, does have a bit of a stigma attached in the way it is widely perceived, but performances like this one prove that dance has so much to offer such a wide audience that it would honestly be a shame to let such talent pass you by.
Originally published on Guide 2 Brighton.