Rambert, Sadler's Wells, dance review: 'Powerful and taut'


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The Independent Culture

Christopher Bruce’s Rooster swaggers back into Rambert’s repertory, as fabulous as its Rolling Stones soundtrack and much funnier. It’s the irresistible heart of a sharp, varied and gorgeously danced mixed bill.

Rooster, one of Rambert’s best-loved hits, is based on Bruce’s memories of the 1960s, and of his own youth. His preening young men move in a cock-of-the-walk strut, all loping legs and boastful head-bob. They’re arrogant, impressive and absurd all at once. The women sashay, swept along by the posturing or just amused by it.

Leading a superb cast, Miguel Altunaga has rock star charisma and outrageous comic timing. Dane Hurst tears through “Paint it Black”, while Antonette Dayrit is both poised and unpredictable as Bruce’s “Ruby Tuesday”.

Lucinda Childs’ Four Elements mixes serene elegance with Jennifer Bartlett’s brash designs and Gavin Bryars’ haunting score. Dancers in lurid tartan body tights move through supple poses, or run and flit with lucid speed.

Hurst is assured in Richard Alston’s quirky solo Dutiful Ducks. The evening ends with Merce Cunningham’s explosive Sounddance, where dancers erupt from Mark Lancaster’s golden draperies and are finally sucked back into them. Altunaga shines again in the leading role, powerful and taut.

Until 24 May. Box office 0844 412 4300