RUBBERBANDance Group, Purcell Room, Southbank Centre, London

view gallery VIEW GALLERY
3.00

 

In Gravity of Center, RUBBERBANDance Group literally pushes its dancers to the brink. Early on, the five dancers scurry up to the front of the stage, where one of them lurches out, starting to fall. The others are only just in time to save him, grabbing hold of his arms or clutching at his clothes. The audience audibly catches its breath.

Founded in 2002, the Montreal-based group borrows its choreographer’s nickname. As a hip hop dancer in Los Angeles, Victor Quijada was known as “Rubberband” for his bendy quality of movement. He went on to dance with modern ballet and contemporary companies before founding his own group, which draws on all those influences. It’s a loose-limbed, contemporary style, ready to open out into a stretched pose or explode with street dance flips and twists.

Gravity of Center, shown as part of the Southbank Centre's Festival of Neighbourhood, is about group dynamics. Once Daniel Mayo has been rescued from the edge, the others don’t quite know how to handle him, angry at the scare they’ve had. Quijada and his team are good at moods and reactions. The same move can be soothing or smothering; shrugs turn into testosterone-laden confrontations. The dancers find community both supportive and oppressive.

Male and female behaviour patterns feel well-observed rather than stereotyped. Emmanuelle LêPhan is reassured by Anne Plamondon, a dancer of cool authority who is also RUBBERBANDance’s associate director. LêPhan snuggles in, petted by the others, until suddenly the attention is too much. She fights her way out of their grasp, but detachment is hardest with Plamondon: she doesn’t want to hurt the other woman’s feelings.

Plamondon and Quijada, leaders of the company, are also leaders of this onstage group. Quijada pushes Mayo into outcast status, while Plamondon steps into protect him – though even her reactions are unpredictable. At one point, she seems ready to push Mayo back over the edge, apparently with his own best interests at heart. When he leaves, after a tangling, wriggling solo. From then on, we see Mayo dealing with isolation while everybody else deals with his absence.

Gravity of Center is an intelligent drama, packing a lot of emotion into its varied vocabulary. It’s weaker on pacing, particularly in a series of angsty solos. Jasper Gahunia’s score, a recording of atmospheric hums, scratches and sometimes beats, doesn’t give the work momentum. Still, this is a distinctive company, with charismatic dancers and a vivid, personal style.

Until 3 May. Box office 0844 875 0073

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel McAdams in True Detective season 2

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Off the wall: the cast of ‘Life in Squares’

TV
Arts and Entertainment

Books And it is whizzpopping!

Arts and Entertainment
Bono throws water at the crowd while the Edge watches as they perform in the band's first concert of their new world tour in Vancouver

MusicThey're running their own restaurants

Voices
The main entrance to the BBC headquarters in London
TV & Radio
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

    Solved after 200 years

    The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
    Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

    Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

    Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
    Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

    Sunken sub

    Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
    Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

    Age of the selfie

    Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
    Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

    Not so square

    How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
    Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

    Still carrying the torch

    The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
    The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

    The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

    ...but history suggests otherwise
    The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

    The bald truth

    How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
    Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

    Tour de France 2015

    Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
    Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

    A new beginning for supersonic flight?

    Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash
    I would never quit Labour, says Liz Kendall

    I would never quit party, says Liz Kendall

    Latest on the Labour leadership contest
    Froome seals second Tour de France victory

    Never mind Pinot, it’s bubbly for Froome

    Second Tour de France victory all but sealed
    Oh really? How the 'lowest form of wit' makes people brighter and more creative

    The uses of sarcasm

    'Lowest form of wit' actually makes people brighter and more creative
    A magazine editor with no vanity, and lots of flair

    No vanity, but lots of flair

    A tribute to the magazine editor Ingrid Sischy
    Foraging: How the British rediscovered their taste for chasing after wild food

    In praise of foraging

    How the British rediscovered their taste for wild food