- Lucy Ribchester
- 24 February 2020
Rambert's diverse programme entices new dance fans and challenges regular ones
It's standard fare for a dance programme to be in three parts, sometimes unified by a single thread. But in the case of Rambert's latest triple bill, it would be hard to muster three more different styles. Whether it was his intention or not, artistic director Benoit Swan Pouffer has succeeded in wooing audiences who would flock to see one choreographer, then challenging them with another. It also shows the scope of Rambert's dancers, as they tackle clean, complex minimalism, angsty fire and a blazing ritualistic finale.
Wayne McGregor's PreSentient sees the choreographer's trademark geometric angles and pendulous clockwork pushed into languorous stretches and tangled up in intricate curves. The dancers play their bodies like instruments; even Steve Reich's Triple Quartet melts out of its relentless panic-stricken loops at one point and into a more sensual Arabic-sounding scale. This part is paired with a double duet of poised, fluid dance, and helps to evoke the classical feel in a modern, minimalist piece.
Marion Motin's Rouge couldn't be more of a contrast. Motin's work in hip hop and music videos has given her a following among a younger crowd and this piece beats with the heart of youthful hope and anger. It starts with a solo electric guitar pelting out onto a smoke-covered stage, while the ensemble fling their pop-colour-costumed bodies to the ground and resurrect themselves again. There's a grubby orgiastic feel in parts; at other times the pack melds together to face us, brash and confrontational.
All of this builds to Hofesh Shechter's In your rooms, a complicated symphony of bodies moving through introspective and collective states. The workaday clothes of the cast and irreverent opening monologue about chaos and the cosmos may set us up for a slice of postmodern wit, but the piece then fires off in unexpected directions. The dancers move in tribal packs, repeat military style drills, hunch into their own worlds, punch the air in defiance. It's a relentless marathon of dance, met head on by the ensemble's tight concentration and energy. The score, developed by Schecter with Neil Catchpole and played live is equally blistering.
Reviewed at Edinburgh Festival Theatre.