Having never been to a modern dance performance before, I confess that I did not know what to expect in regards to Rambert. However, it is a mark of the talent of the group of dancers, and the musicians who accompanied the three pieces staged, that I still thoroughly enjoyed the performance as a whole.
The play was split into three different performances, by three different choreographers. The first performance, ‘Dark Arteries’ by Mark Baldwin, used no props at all, and employed the unusual site of a brass band on stage behind the performers, playing the booming music of Gavin Higgins.
The piece began with the sinister tones of the brass band, highlighting the intensity of the piece from the off. The purple, flowing dresses of the female dancers conveyed this tone perfectly, and also generated a further sense of flow to the movement.
Having the brass band on stage produced another dimension to the whole performance, with the conductor behind the dancers seeming to be conducting them additionally, and produced a combination of music and dance within the same space.
“The ending was based around more hymn-like sounds, and employed a number of dancing pairs”
Whether it was a group display or just a pair of dancers on stage during the performance, the movement and strong tones of the brass band combined to generate an incredibly intense performance.
The ending was based around more hymn-like sounds, and employed a number of dancing pairs, with the male dancers wearing orange to contrast very viscerally with the purple of the females. As an opening piece, it set the tone for the rest of the evening, and was an early indication of the intensity of modern dance.
The second piece of the night was ‘The 3 Dancers’, a work choreographed by Didy Veldman and based around the Picasso painting of the same name. Veldman’s work was based around the themes of Picasso’s life such as love, passion, tension, and manipulation, and as such a large part of the piece was based around, and employed, elements of puppetry and synchronisation.
“The inch-perfect synchronisation of the dancers, with six in total, generated a mesmerising effect”
The most stunning movements of the night came within this piece, and it was the one I enjoyed the most. The inch-perfect synchronisation of the dancers, with six in total, generated a mesmerising effect. The scenes employing elements of puppetry, with one dancer leading another, were incredibly powerful, with the three mirror-shard props that were lowered through the performance producing another dimension to the mirroring techniques.
With the costumes consisting of either black or white colours, the simplicity meant nothing was taken away from the undoubted quality of the dancers on display, with Miguel Altunaga arguably the most impressive of an incredibly talented bunch.
The final piece of the night, ‘Frames’ by Alexander Whitley, was based around the ideas of construction and work. The use of metal bars for props and the creation of different structures ran through-out the performance. The strong images created by the poles was heightened by the use of white curtains on the three sides of the stage, with lights connected to the bars throwing shadows across these curtains to add another dimension to the visual display.
“For someone who had never experienced a modern dance performance before this one, the performance of the Rambert dancers was thoroughly enjoyable”
Daniel Bjarnason’s musical number was the slowest of the night, but matched the nature of the performance perfectly. When the bars were raised above the performers head, the continued use of movements based around the themes of framing and construction were still as strong as with the props.
For someone who had never experienced a modern dance performance before this one, the performance of the Rambert dancers was thoroughly enjoyable. Whether you have been to a modern dance show before or would like to try it for the first time, Rambert is a great show to view.
‘Rambert’ is running at Theatre Royal until Thursday 25th February. For more information see here.