Rambert Dance Company, Season of New Choreography, Linbury Studio Theatre, London
Throughout its history, Rambert Dance Company has encouraged young choreographers. Today, the company has regular seasons of new work by company dancers, often taking their work into repertory.
This latest programme was a workshop event on a lavish scale, with live, often specially commissioned music, and up to nine dancers. Rambert's dancers are in terrific form this season, making this an evening of handsome, focused dancing.
Of the five new works, Mbulelo Ndabeni's Indlela is the most fun. Otis-Cameron Carr starts it off, shimmying through deep lunges. Robert Millett's music is full of African rhythms and layers of percussion. Other dancers join in, winding around each other in duets. At the end, the musicians leave the stage, one by one. When the last drummer goes, she leaves Carr still dancing, a rich line of movement that he's not quite ready to end.
Miguel Altunaga's The Mustard Seed is weaker. This introspective solo starts with twitches and shakes, but lacks momentum. Dane Hurst's Jeremiah has a stark atmosphere. Three men stand in stretched, taut poses, prowling forwards. In Hurst's costume design, they wear strapping across their bare torsos, giving this dance a suggestion of combat.
This evening included a preview of Atomic Café, written by Rambert's music fellow Gavin Higgins. To be choreographed later, the work sets strings against urgent woodwind, pushing insistently forward. It's a reminder of the ambition of Rambert's plans for new work.
Malgorzata Dzierzon's For P. is a lyrical piece danced to Gorecki, with mournful duets. Dzierzon's steps are conventional, but they're danced with stern conviction by this cast. Patricia Okenwa's hold me meanders as it follows the changing atmosphere of Aleksandra Vrebalov's string quartet. Okenwa responds best when Vrebalov brings in gypsy violin, the dancers dipping and skittering.
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