Dance: The arrival of a new choreographer

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The Independent Culture



THREE NEW additions to the repertoire: that's a bold choice for Scottish Ballet's return to London after a ludicrously long absence. One of the choreographers is new to us, too: Tim Rushton, British-born but based in Copenhagen. He created Nightlife specially for the company and, personally, I did not take to his dances, although I have to say that Lorna Scott and Ivan Dinev gave more conviction than they might have deserved.

What the dancers had to do seemed fidgety and trivial, hardly related to the bits and pieces of Bach Rushton had chosen, and hardly suggesting the Glasgow club world which is the supposed subject. Also, the piece twice came to an obvious end, then started up again with more of the same interminably repetitious nonsense. We must hope this was not the top of Rushton's form.

At least Lez Brotherson's very simple setting (square-cut arches one behind the other, lit to change colours at intervals) looked good, as did Philip Prowse's bright new thoughts on Kenneth MacMillan's Diversions, newly revived. This is one of the choreographer's most pleasing all-dance ballets, more accomplished than his more familiar Concerto.

Sabine Chaland, a tall, elegantly sensitive dancer on loan from the Dutch National Ballet, and the quick, neat Ari Takahashi were the solo women, with the bounding Vladislav Bubnov and Oliver Rydout their able partners, and an enthusiastic supporting ensemble. If only Arthur Bliss's Music for Strings were not such a drably turgid score, this would be a real hit.

So the evening's greatest success was Rapture, by Lila York who, on the strength of this and her Sanctum for Birmingham Royal Ballet, seems to be the first real choreographer to emerge since Mark Morris. Her music this time is movements from two of Prokofiev's piano concertos. York makes striking work for a large ensemble. The first section is a continuous cascade of quick, swirling movement that hurtles across and around the stage, full of huge leaps, twisting turns, impetus moving in and out: absolutely exhilarating. There is no way really to equal this in what follows, yet the interest does not flag. One couple, separated from the other dancers, hint at a more solemn mood. The ballet is dedicated to two of York's contemporaries who died young, but she remembers the joy of them, not the sadness.

The company is in fine form, thanks to Kenn Burke's intelligent and imaginative care as acting artistic director. The new director Robert North will have a lot to live up to when he takes over this summer.