La La La Human Steps, Sadler's Wells, London
Monday 03 October 2011
The dancers of Édouard Lock's La La La Human Steps move with furious attack. In New Work, created to celebrate the Montreal company's 30th anniversary, women whip through turns with the jittery quickness of speeded-up film.
Lock and company are known for crash choreography. His original muse, Louise Lecavalier, would hurl herself into the air and barrel turn until she walloped into her partner. The style was death-defying punk. Since then, Lock has smoothed down some of the edges. He's discovered pointework, and the female dancers now have sleek chignons where Lecavalier had flying dreadlocks. The perilous speed remains.
For its first performances, New Work went even further towards classical ballet. Lock created a starring role for the Maryinsky ballerina Diana Vishneva, who had planned to dance the role in London. She then discovered that, "due to her intense work schedule", she couldn't dance it after all.
Watching New Work with Lock's own dancers, there's no sense of a missing star. Liz Vandal dresses the women in a uniform of patterned leotard, black footless tights and pointe shoes. Several soloists emerge, their roles aren't contrasted; they all stalk through the shadows and spotlights. The men are even more anonymous: suited figures who loom darkly then get on withthe partnering.
There's no narrative as such. New Work draws on two tragic operas – Purcell's Dido and Aeneas and Gluck's Orpheus and Eurydice. The composer Gavin Bryars has arranged Purcell and Gluck for piano, cello, viola and saxophone. It's a grainy, chamber sound, with scratchy strings. Familiar melodies emerge only to vanish again. A second composer, Blake Hargreaves, adds atmospheric electronica. Lock's own lighting design adds to the filmic quality of his work. Spotlights pick out dancers, first from one side, then the other. As the lights change, it's like a jerk in the film: the dancers don't seem to be in quite the same place.
In film sequences, we see double portraits of female dancers: the dancer as she is, and an aged-up version of herself, placed side by side. The ageing make-up is impressive, but the idea is repeated too often.
Over 90 minutes, New Work creates a strong mood, and sticks to it. It has driving pace, but it fails to move forward.
elephant appealThe first 23 lots in our charity auction have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
The battle for control of Stieg Larsson's £30m legacy
Geoffrey Macnab does not like the comedian's big screen debut
Look beyond the usual shows for the best festive telly
Michelle Nijhuis' daughter insists (s)he is, and she learnt a valuable lesson on gender in books
newsFormer soldier taped 33 of the animals to the floor and then stamped on them one by one
Arts & Ents blogs
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
Tom Daley ‘is gay because his father died’ says UK evangelist
Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
Anachronistic and iniquitous, grammar schools are a blot on the British education system
- 1 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 2 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- 3 Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
- 4 Cycle death inquest: Boyfriend hugs driver of 32 tonne tipper truck that killed his girlfriend
- 5 Burglar steals video tapes of child abuse, hands them into police
- < Previous
- Next >