Review: Rambert – The 3 Dancers plus other works, Woking
My nine-year-old mudlet is a huge dance fan. She’s been studying ballet since she was four, she’s done modern dance and tap, and during the Strictly season, our Saturday nights are pretty much spoken for. When I heard the Rambert dance company was coming to the New Victoria Theatre at Woking, I was pretty excited. And so was she.
But full disclosure: I’m no dance aficionado. I barely know my demi-plié from my demi-pointe. During my time on the arts desk at The Independent though, I’d read quite a lot about Rambert, and I was keen to see them.
Rambert is Britain’s oldest dance company, turning 90 this year. The company’s 22 dancers perform a mix of classical and contemporary dance to music that is played by their own orchestra. Their base is on London’s South Bank, but they tour the country extensively with more than three-quarters of their performances taking place outside of London.
Last night’s performance was part of their Spring Tour, and included three works: The 3 Dancers, Hydrargyrum and Terra Incognita. All three were choreographed by women.
The 3 Dancers, by Dutch choreographer, Didy Veldman, was inspired by the true story behind Picasso’s masterpiece, The Three Dancers – a love triangle that resulted in the heart-broken suicide of Picasso’s friend. On stage, Veldman uses two men and a woman, all in white, and another three dancers, wearing black, as their shadows. It’s utterly mesmerising, and was my favourite of the night. The original musical score is by leading Australia composer Elena Kats-Chernin.
The second piece was the premiere of Hydrargyrum by Rambert’s Patricia Okenwa, who has been a dancer with the company for 11 years. This is her first choreographed full-length work for Rambert, and is set to and an original score by Serbian composer Aleksandra Vrebalov. In it she explores ideas of connections and disconnection, the individual and the mass. It felt supernatural and dystopian; the six dancers almost buzzing around like bees in a hive, and in dark outfits, which were peeled off to reveal their skin beneath. It was powerful and almost emotional. This was Miss 9’s favourite of the three.
The third work was Shobana Jeyasingh’s Terra Incognita, with an electro-accoustic score by composer Gabriel Prokofiev. Jeyasingh’s theme is urban legends and the power of journeying into the unknown. Her 10 dancers wear kilted skirts and she combines Indian classical dance with contemporary movement. It’s dramatic and gripping, and incredible to watch. I loved it almost as much as The 3 Dancers.
You don’t need to be a dance expert to enjoy Rambert, just be open to contemporary dance. But it’s only on for two more nights, so book quickly. And let me know if you make it.
Rambert: The 3 Dancers, Hydragyrum and Terra Incognita.
New Victoria Theatre, Woking, until Sat 5 March. atgtickets.com