The Rodin Project, Sadler's Wells, London
Living sculptures have yet to break the mould
Sunday 04 November 2012
Sculpture and dance. As mergers go, it's a no-brainer, and the surprise is that no one has brokered it before. Rodin's sculpture in particular, with its knotty muscularity and ecstatic, reaching forms, was just waiting for a choreographer with a special interest in anatomy to translate it to dancers' bodies on a stage. Russell Maliphant is the obvious candidate for the job.
And what a smart idea of his to devise The Rodin Project on a sextet of hip hop dancers, whose low centre of gravity and propensity for extremes of torque and twist not only make them highly mouldable into Rodinesque shapes, but render their upper bodies Men's Health buff. Lighting by Michael Hulls, a long-time collaborator, furthers the impression of flesh hewn from hard materials, while Es Devlin's set fashions a multi-level playground from an artist's studio.
So, The Rodin Project had, or has, much going for it. For this is clearly work in progress, barely recognisable from the preview shown at Sadler's Wells earlier in the year, and already turned into a film, but still a long way from fulfilling its potential.
There are marvellous, memorable things: the soundless hand springs of dancer Tommy Franzen, so soft they appear to dissolve the floor; a sensuous solo for an almost naked Carys Staton – and some very clever stuff against a vertical wall, summoning the tumbling, writhing images of Rodin's Gates of Hell.
But the many elements dismally fail to pull together. Not only did I get the distinct impression that some of the choreography had been learnt that afternoon, but, worse, the performers seemed unsure whether they were meant to be cyphers or human beings. This made for some clunking moments, not least the gormless "me Tarzan" first entrance of the men in what looked like baggy nappies. Nor does the gratingly insistent music composed and recorded by cellist Alexander Zekke add much. Roll on the next edition of The Rodin Project.
Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty sees Britain’s most popular dance showman complete the trio of Tchaikovsky ballet scores that began with Nutcracker! and brought him international fame with Swan Lake. His latest reimagining gives the story a gothic slant, beginning Aurora’s 100-year sleep in 1890. Plymouth Theatre Royal (Mon to Sat), then touring to Salford, Norwich and Edinburgh before an eight-week run at London’s Sadler’s Wells, with further touring in 2013.
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated
tvAn expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle
artLee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 2 Dog thinks owner is drowning in lake, dives in and tries to pull him out
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Chilling drone footage captures Auschwitz ahead of 70th anniversary of liberation
- 5 Phil Neville backtracks on Tomas Rosicky 'I'd smash him' comments from Match of the Day 2
Heavy metal producer's corpse to be mutilated by models as per his dying wish
Ed Sheeran texts Noel Gallagher to offer him tickets after that Wembley Stadium rant
Sia apologises for 'Elastic Heart' music video that sees Shia LaBeouf wrestle 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler
Mortdecai becomes Johnny Depp's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Last Tango in Halifax, review: Can we ever really move on from Kate?
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
Leaked documents show Ukip leaders approve NHS privatisation once it becomes more 'acceptable to the electorate'