Rambert Dance Company at The Alhambra Theatre, Bradford
As the houselights dim on a packed auditorium, the anticipation is almost tangible.
Rambert opens with A Linha Curva, a highly energetic piece with an intricate lighting plot and a driving soundtrack that boasts South American roots. The vitality and strength from the whole company, plus guest performers from Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance, is breathtaking. The timing and precision is key, and the dancers do a fantastic job of portraying the simplicity and sensuality that the choreographer, Itzik Galili, discovered when he first went to Sao Paulo.
Their second number, Ghost Dances, is based on the brutal repression following the Pinochet coup in Chile in 1973. Set to South American folk music, this wonderful re-working of a Christopher Bruce favourite tells a universal story of cruelty, lack of human rights and people who suffer, whilst remaining a tribute to the people of Chile. With exquisite trios from the ghosts and technically stunning dancing from the persecuted, this leaves a haunting ambiance suspended in the haze at the second interval.
Finally, something as brave as it was clever – a dance tackling people’s insecurities and issues which actually has us in stitches by the clever way it is choreographed and designed. Goat is based on a strange New Year’s Eve tradition of tying a can full of bits of paper containing people’s issues to the tail of a goat, who sometimes runs away and sometimes comes back!
Provided with a commentator and mobile camera onstage, giving the audience an up close perspective, it is set in a counselling session. Interspersed with the music of Nina Simone, the “patients” both interact and isolate themselves in the most sensual yet also detached manner.
The dancer who becomes the “scapegoat” ends up covered in post-it notes and dances himself to death – all captured by the camera and the commentator.
Finally, in a twist, the commentator takes the place of the scapegoat, giving him his clothes and stepping into his shoes.
The whole evening is a feast of exquisite dancing, wonderful live music delivered by exceptional musicians and compelling messages… a real tonic and certainly food for thought.