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Go see Rambert at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre – 2 nights left!

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Let me begin my review of the Rambert dance company at the Waterside Theatre by saying that my usual technical assistant in all things dance (my mother, who had a scholarship to the Royal Ballet and knows her stuff) was ill last night. I was chucked out of my ballet class at the age of 7, so this Muddy review will be a little light on the chassés and pirouhettes, but extremely knowledgeable on skintight lycra, of which I can report there were pleasingly large amounts.

Even a dance ignoramus like me can appreciate Rambert, the oldest British dance company whose 22 dancers mix classical and contemporary techniques, new and historic works, with music played live wherever possible by their own orchestra. Half of the dancers are British, the other half come from Cuba, New Zealand, France, Denmark, Australia, Hungary, USA etc, and these guys like to take their work to the people –  three quarters of performances taking place in UK towns and cities outside London.

Photo credit: Tristram Kenton

The 3 Dancers. Photo credit: Tristram Kenton

Last night’s performance focused on three works, The 3 Dancers, Transfigured Night and The Strange Charm of Mother Nature. Though it sometimes works to be blissfully ignorant of what I’m watching (my opinion being that I can go in without prejudice and have an honest reaction to what I see), I think it backfired on me slightly last night. The 3 Dancers was an intricate piece of work, featuring 3 dancers in white and their 3 dark reflections in shadow, but it was only after the performance that I clocked it was a representation Picasso’s The Three Dancers, itself a menacing, deathly portrait of a love triangle amongst Picasso’s aquaintance. It would have added to my enjoyment to know the back story and also realise why they were using a repeating motif of hands entwined (see the painting below, it’s a no brainer) so my advise is to read your programme! It was a beautiful piece anyway, but it would have given it more depth if I’d done my research.

 

Picasso's 'The Three Dancers'

Picasso’s ‘The Three Dancers’

The Strange Charm of Mother Nature was an expression of the burst of gamma rays and quarks, and used two connected pieces of music Bach’s Brandenberg Concerto No 3 and Stravinsky’s Dumbarton Oaks, a work that reconfigured the notes of Bach’s work to create something entirely new (rather like the reforming particles).

Rambert Dance Company. "The Strange Charm Of Mother Nature" World Premiere. Choreographed by Mark Baldwin. Miguel Altunaga, Vanessa Kang.
Um, whatever. I just felt a rather childish joy watching dancers in canary yellow all-in-one lycra with buttocks tighter than walnuts running around the stage to the Brandenberg concerto, which just happens to be one of my favourite pieces of music ever, and frequently played at Muddy HQ. Yeah, I’m totally down with the 500 year olds.

The final piece, Transfigured Night, was beautiful and moving and my favourite of the three dances – three versions of a moment when a woman confesses to her lover that she is pregnant with another man’s child.

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Simone Damberg, stunning in strumpet red, and the Cuban dancer Miguel Altunaga, strangely attired in brown like he’d stepped out of Abigail’s Party, were both incredible to watch, and deserved their massive round of applause at the end of the show.

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Rambert are at Waterside tonight (Fri 12 Feb) and tomorrow (Sat 13 Feb) – you don’t need to be a massive dance afficionado to enjoy it, just be open to contemporary dance. As ever let me know if you make it!

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