Rambert Dance Company, Sadler’s Wells, London

A tropical triumph of a revival
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The Independent Culture

In Merce Cunningham's classic RainForest, created in 1968, some of the landscape is left to chance. Andy Warhol's set is an installation of silver, helium-filled pillows. They float on or above the stage, drifting in the currents made by the dancers' movements. At this performance, a man claps his hands together, just as a pillow brushes past his fingers.

Cunningham, one of 20th-century dance's great pioneers, died last year. Rambert Dance Company, which had a long association with him, is dancing RainForest for the first time. The company are already assured and atmospheric, catching Cunningham's long lines and jittery rhythms, hasty little steps that have them prowling over the same patch of ground.

The work is a nature study; the dancers go about their business in this stylised forest, as David Tudor's soundscape clatters around them. Some of the steps suggest animal movements. One dancer nudges another away with his head, pushing until she rolls over. Then the push becomes human: he reaches out as she keeps turning, gesturing her on.

Pieter Symonds is sharp and distinctive, stalking through her steps. Miguel Altunaga is marvellous in his storming final solo. He takes a lunging step forwards, stamps and drives on. There's a fierce power to his movements: he's one of this forest's more dangerous creatures.

Siobhan Davies's The Art of Touch, created in 1995, is also new to Rambert this year. The dancers skitter through quick footwork, to harpsichord music by Matteo Fargion and Domenico Scarlatti. It's an elegant work, framed by designer David Buckland in bronzed, metallic panels.

The dancing is formal, but not too formal. Davies gives the dancers dipping, whirling steps and odd, near-mime gestures, shaking their fingers. At the start of several musical phrases, one man strikes the air, as if hitting a bell. When one pair dance, she stands slightly crouched, folding herself into the steps. As the dancers organise themselves in lines and patterns, one will stand apart, joining in at the last minute. This was a lucid performance, with Symonds twitchily exact in her solo.

This strong programme ends with Itzik Galili's bouncy A Linha Curva, a samba-inspired romp. Galili lights the stage in a coloured chequerboard, squares lighting and changing colour under the dancers' feet. Dressed in tiny, brightly coloured shorts, they stomp through wide-legged steps, shaking their hips.

Galili adds posing dances, a group of men showing off as a woman stands watching them. There's a lovely moment when more dancers whizz across the stage on their backs, lying on skateboards. The musicians of Percossa play live on a platform at the back of the stage, grinning as they watch the dancers.

To 29 May (0844 412 4300)

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