Dance preview: Rambert

Ghost Dances returns to the stage 13 years after it was last seen

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Rambert

credit: Anthony Crickmay

It may be the oldest dance company in Britain, but nobody could accuse Rambert of being stuck in the past. Moving forward, re-inventing itself and bringing in fresh talent has always been its modus operandi. Yet underpinning all that new creativity is a tradition and heritage everyone associated with the company is fiercely proud of – no one more so than Christopher Bruce.

At the age of 71, Bruce has been connected with Rambert in one way or another for 57 years, from training at the school to dancing in the company to choreographing and serving as artistic director. But of all the wonderful pieces Bruce has created over the years, none has captured the public's imagination quite so much as Ghost Dances.

Choreographed in 1981, as Bruce's reflection on the appalling treatment of ordinary people during the 1973 Chilean coup, the work also references Mexico's Day of the Dead festival. Set to haunting South American music, the piece returns to the stage 13 years after it was last seen, as part of Rambert's current UK tour.

Dance fans are unanimous in their praise for Ghost Dances, but to what does Bruce himself attribute its enduring appeal? 'If I knew that, I'd make it happen every time,' he laughs. 'When you make a piece, you're using a combination of your instinct, imagination and craft – but a lot of research always goes into anything I make. With Ghost Dances the inspiration was Joan Jara and her book An Unfinished Song, about the torture and murder of her husband Victor during the coup, that was the germ of this piece.'

Chilean singer and director, Victor Jara's tragic death was in 1973, but as Bruce says, Ghost Dances retains its resonance: 'Even though I set the piece in the Andes, any number of countries have been subjugated by political oppression. And it could be just as relevant today to the situation in the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe, the theme is universal – it's about the innocent people who are caught up in it.'

Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Wed 23–Fri 25 Nov; then touring.

Rambert

Britain’s oldest dance company celebrates its 90th anniversary with a triple-bill featuring Christopher’s Bruce’s Ghost Dances, Lucy Guerin’s Tomorrow and Alexander Whitley’s Frames.

Edinburgh Festival Theatre

Thu 26 Oct

Prices to be confirmed / 0131 529 6000

Fri 27 Oct

Prices to be confirmed / 0131 529 6000

Sat 28 Oct

Prices to be confirmed / 0131 529 6000

New Theatre, Oxford

Wed 15 Mar

£13.90–£33.40 / 0844 871 3020

Thu 16 Mar

£13.90–£33.40 / 0844 871 3020

Fri 17 Mar

£13.90–£33.40 / 0844 871 3020

Sadler's Wells, London EC1R

Tue 16 May

£15–£50 / 0844 412 4300

Wed 17 May

£15–£50 / 0844 412 4300

Thu 18 May

£15–£50 / 0844 412 4300

…and 2 more dates until 20 May

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