Opposites Attract, Sadler’s Wells, London

3.00

 

Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Opposites Attract is a light, brisk programme that goes soggy at the end. The dancers move with easy confidence from David Bintley’s jazzy Take Five and Jessica Lang’s fluent Lyric Pieces to the doughy posturing of Hans van Manen’s Grosse Fuge.

Created by company director David Bintley, Take Five makes a perky opening number. The musicians of the Royal Ballet Sinfonia have fun with jazz musician Dave Brubeck’s best-known tunes, transcribed by Colin Towns.

Jean-Marc Puissant dresses the dancers like 1950s college students, with full skirts and tidy bodices for the women, polo shirts for the men. Peter Mumford lights up the stage floor with geometric shapes. Carol-Anne Millar leads the pack, skipping and dipping. Four men clap out rhythms to match those from the pit, kicking and flicking their feet as they go. Joseph Caley whizzes through his solo.

Lyric Pieces is the first European commission from leading American choreographer Jessica Lang. It’s a set of flowing classical dances to Grieg piano music, though Lang also gets caught up in her stage design. The work is framed by lengths of black folded paper, which the dancers open into fans or screens, curl into stools or, when all else fails, flap hopefully about the place.

Between origami sessions, Lang creates light, fleet steps. Maureya Lebowitz leads an ensemble of pointy-fingered sprites, scampering about the stage. Jenna Roberts and Iain Mackay are softly romantic in a gentle pas de deux. Everybody clusters around and over one of the paper screens, grouped elegantly over several levels.

Created in 1971, Hans van Manen’s Grosse Fuge sets four men and four women stomping ponderously to Beethoven. The men wear draped sarong skirts and belts. The women are stuck with pretzel-shaped hair combs and horrid 1970s foundation garments. Van Manen, who designed the costumes, builds them into his choreography. The men climb out of their skirts on stage, while the belts are used in partnering. Women grab hold of them, pulling themselves up from the floor, or cling on as their partners drag them about.

Van Manen goes in for deep squats and extended fists, with a hint of yoga practice. Women alternate between passivity, lying flat as their partners stand astride them, and goddess posing. The men are unfailingly macho. The Birmingham dancers give a forceful performance, striding and strutting with muscular energy. I admired Joseph Caley, partnering Momoko Hirata with fluid strength.

Sadler’s Wells season continues until 27 October. Box office 0844 412 4300.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Arts and Entertainment
William Pooley from Suffolk is flying out to Free Town, Sierra Leone, to continue working in health centres to fight Ebola after surviving the disease himself

music
Arts and Entertainment
The Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Berry (centre), the star of Channel 4 sitcom 'Toast of London'

TVA disappointingly dull denouement
Arts and Entertainment
Tales from the cryptanalyst: Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Imitation Game'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pixie Lott has been voted off Strictly Come Dancing 2014

Strictly
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas