Each dance tells a captivating story whilst each dancer ingeniously manoeuvres their body as if their movements are generating the music. These shows can only be described as visual, physical and musical masterpieces!
The national contemporary dance company, Rambert, recently presented a trio of works at The Birmingham Repertory Theatre including Frames, Transfigured Night and finally the return of Christopher Bruce’s Rooster.
Alexandar Whitley’s Frames opens the show and captures the audience right from the beginning. Each dancer enters the stage holding a metal bar and as the show progresses the bars are attached and detached to create various interlocking shapes and lines. These shapes are the ‘frames’ that determine the movement as the dancers manipulate both the bars and their bodies to act as parallels. The fast-paced music and sometimes regimental nature of the dance creates an intense atmosphere which is only exemplified by the creative use of light and shadow. Arguably the most exciting visual element of this piece occurs when the bars are attached in unusual ways and elevated into the air by thin wire. The light shining onto this structure creates the shadow of a complex pattern on the white canvas walls of the stage. This forms the perfect backdrop for the incredibly precise but effortless dance.
Transfigured Night was composed by Arnold Schoenberg and is used in this piece by Kim Brandstrup as the music to accompany his choreography. This song is based on the Richard Dehmel poem that describes two lovers walking on a moonlit night. The woman has to reveal to her lover that she is bearing the child of another man and the poem demonstrates how the man comes to accept this. The ‘secret’ is demonstrated in this piece when a group of dancers dressed all in black enter the stage and try to tear the woman away from her lover; as if the secret will tear apart their relationship. Light and shade are again intelligently used as the female lover positions herself only in the shade of a pillar when she fears she has been rejected. The performances of the male and female lead dancers in this piece are both flawless and enchanting.
Christopher Bruce transports us back to the sixties and all the glory of The Rolling Stones as he skilfully choreographs his courtship dances to some of their most well-known tracks. Perhaps the most notable of which being Little Red Rooster. It may be somewhat of a challenge to imagine the songs of The Rolling Stones as the perfect partner for contemporary dance; however, Bruce’s playfully vibrant work makes it seem that these songs were made for the dances and not the other way around. The dancers succeed in capturing the essence of each song which they channel through every movement, filling the stage with energy and excitement. Stephen Wright in particular brings humour to this piece as he seamlessly depicts the cheeky chap who tries to woo his love interest and does not always succeed!
Although all three of these works are quite contrasting they also complement each other entirely by providing the perfect balance of precision, passion and vivacity. Each dance tells a captivating story, while each dancer ingeniously manoeuvres their body as if their movements are generating the music. These shows can only be described as visual, physical and musical masterpieces!