Henri Oguike, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London


Live music can lift dancing, opening it out. From the earliest days of his company, now seven years old, Henri Oguike brought in musicians whenever he could afford them. This show, a collaboration between Oguike's company and the Britten Sinfonia, offered two London premieres and some grandly expansive dancing.

Oguike's dancers respond to the musicians. I've never seen them show such attack and assured phrasing. Backs and feet are cleanly stretched, limbs swung boldly. The movement texture can be as lush as the string playing.

Oguike's setting of Tippett's Concerto for Double String Orchestra is a pastoral celebration. His nine dancers, in white and green, group themselves in chain dances, cutting into solos and duets, each with a hand clasping the next person's elbow. They half-crouch, knees bent, hips swung; they often stop in position, making a background for other dances.

In lines and small groups, his dancers shuffle and dip, shoulders swinging. For a moment, the women look like flappers, with a hint of 1920-30s social dance: Tippett's score is a 20th-century pastoral. Music may be central to Oguike, but he sometimes cuts against his scores. I love many of the steps in this Tippett, but they don't always tell me about the music.

Oguike strains for some effects. In the Tippett, the cast leave the stage to walk through the audience; there are a few too many bright smiles, some patterns that lose impetus. But this programme shows a choreographer making dances of real ease and freedom.

Tiger Dancing, to a score commissioned from Steve Martland, starts with the poem by William Blake, but creates a very different mood. The music is full of plucked strings and springy lines: lively rather than fierce, with no fearful symmetries. Oguike gives his dancers sinuous, feline movements, but nothing cutesy; when they drop to hands and knees, they hold their arms spread wide in stark angles.

The evening opened with the Britten Sinfonia in Edward Gregson's Stepping Out, the strings cutting across each other in different phrases, the playing juicy and warm. The first danced piece was Front Line, Oguike's vivid setting of a Shostakovich string quartet. The concert showed how broad Oguike's appeal is: this South Bank audience ranged from classical music specialists to cheering teenagers.

Dance City, Newcastle (0191-261 0505), 25 May

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
War veteran and father of Peter and Laust Thoger Jensen played by Lars Mikkelson

TVBBC hopes latest Danish import will spell success

Arts and Entertainment
Carey Mulligan in Far From The Madding Crowd
FilmCarey Mulligan’s Bathsheba would fit in better in The Hunger Games
Arts and Entertainment
Pandas-on-heat: Mary Ramsden's contribution is intended to evoke the compound the beasts smear around their habitat
Iart'm Here But You've Gone exhibition has invited artists to produce perfumes
Arts and Entertainment
U2's Songs of Innocence album sleeve

tvU2’s latest record has been accused of promoting sex between men

Arts and Entertainment
Alison Steadman in Inside No.9
tvReview: Alison Steadman stars in Inside No.9's brilliant series finale Spoiler alert
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
    'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

    'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

    British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
    Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

    Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

    Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
    14 best kids' hoodies

    14 best kids' hoodies

    Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

    The acceptable face of the Emirates

    Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk