Rooster and Other Works



ASK anyone with the slightest interest in dance to name a contemporary dance company and the chances are it will be Rambert, and it is easy to see why.

Its dancers have that level of skill and talent to make even the most complex of moves seem so easy and natural that performances flow like ripples in silk.

Whether dramatic, romantic, sad or happy . . . all emotion is seen through dance as stories told through movement unfold.

Their current tour, Rooster and Other Works, opens with Frames choreographed by Alexander Whiteley, who started his career at Birmingham Royal Ballet incidentally, and with music by Icelandic composer Daniel Bjarnason.

I must admit I am old school when it comes to music, something to hum on the way home, which can hardly apply to Bjarnason, but to be fair the music, with its mesmerising rdance midhythmic beat, and the 12 dancers were as one as we saw the contortions the human body could manage around 70 interlocking metal bars creating moving shapes like a huge, fluid Meccano set.

Around the angular metal frames and hard edges of the music, amid points of light, we see the softer angles and shapes that can be created with the human form in a flowing dance of mechanical and human forms.

Frames could be seen as examples rather than a story while Transfigured Night, the second piece, was a more lyrical, narrative dance from Danish born Kim Brandstrup set to Arnold Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht.

Stephen Wright and Hannah Rudd playing with fire

With an ensemble of 16 dancers we see two couples, Miguel Altunaga and Simone Damberg Würtz along with Dane Hurst and Hannah Rudd.

The dance starts with the premise of a devastation disclosure, the sort that shocks and makes lovers question a relationship. With that start we see first the fear of rejection, then a dream sequence where all is forgiven and everyone lives happily ever after, and then finally, the reality, a wary acceptance, qualified forgiveness. The relationship has been wounded, and there might be scars, but the lovers are still together.

Chloe Lamford’s design with the ensemble in black and only the four lead dancers in colour, including a stunning red dress, added colour to the dance canvas while a single pillar gave scope to some dramatic and imaginative lighting from Fabiana Piccioli. It is a powerful piece beautifully told and danced.

The final piece, Rooster, choreographed by Christopher Bruce, was just . . . fun.  Eight Rolling Stones tracks from Little Red Rooster through Paint it Black ending with Sympathy for the Devil all opening with Miguel Altunaga with a rooster walk, and we had another stunning red dress in Ruby Tuesday.

This is the first time Rooster has been in the Rambert programme for some 13 years yet it still seems as fresh as ever and so does the Stone’s music . . . or is that an age thing for those of us not fading away. To 31-10-15

Roger Clarke



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