Dance: Scottish steps - Life and Style - The Independent

Dance: Scottish steps

Janet Smith, well known over recent years as director of her own small but always ambitious company, has taken on a new commitment this season, running the Scottish Dance Theatre which is based at the Dundee Rep Theatre but is able to travel widely, thanks to using just five dancers and being economical in decor and musical accompaniment. Tonight, London is added to an itinerary that has already this year included the Channel Islands as well as many Scottish and English cities.

Smith is a choreographer who believes in saying something to her audience; her ballets have always been concerned with content as much as with form. Which is not to say that she neglects shape and structure in her choreography.

The combination of Beethoven and children's games as the inspiration of her latest work therefore sounds intriguing. She calls it Playfall (above) and says she has found tragic undercurrents as well as the expected jollity in the games children play. Solemn and playful elements are also found in the music, for which Christopher Best has composed variations to go with the slow movement of the "Moonlight" sonata.

In the past, Smith had to create all her own repertoire, and very imaginatively she did it too. But now, thanks to support from Dundee City Council, the Scottish Arts Council and the Baring Foundation, she can enjoy the luxury of supplementing her ballets by commissioning work from emerging talent both in Scotland and the rest of Britain.

Carol Brown is the guest choreographer on this programme. In The Glory Box, she looks at the people who remain after the bride and groom have left their wedding reception. Both strangers and intimates are brought together by the occasion; each of them has his or her own story to tell in movement that has been described has highly physical, cascading and swelling - all to a score specially written by Russ L Skoons for voice and instruments.

Bloomsbury Theatre, Gordon Street, London WC1 (0171-388 8822) tonight, 8pm

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