Review: Rambert2. (touring). Curve Leicester

Rambert2

Leicester Curve – Touring

Tuesday 5th October – Thursday 7th October, 8pm

Home – choreographed by Micaela Taylor

Killing Pig – choreographed by Sharon Eyal

Continuing their U.K. tour at Curve Theatre are the outstanding Rambert2. Back in February 2020, 650 dancers from all over the globe attended open auditions to be part of this ensemble. Just 11 were chosen and what a talent they are, both collectively and individually.

This incredible cohort comprises Loïc Ayme, Judy Luo, Pierre-Antoine Bardot, Caití Carpenter, D’Angelo Castro, Comfort Kondehson, Emma Spinosi, Jonathan Wade, Archie White, Seren Williams and Verity Wright

This evening’s programme is divided into two parts. First is Home, choreographed by Micaela Taylor. Dry ice lends intimacy to the atmosphere of the Curve Studio as we take our seats. The set designed by Candice MacAllister takes the form of a sparse ‘living room.’ There is a plain standard lamp placed on a side table, a pale blue carpet that spans the stage, a single door frame and a traditional windowpane held aloft. However, there is a second lamp opposite which is suspended upside down. The overall effect at once suggests ‘home,’ but there is subversion here, too.

A single dancer enters, and her contemporaries are arranged behind her in a darkened phantasmagorical tableau. Immediately, it feels as if there is a threat as the voiceover proclaims, ‘What is home?’ That is a question that resonates throughout the whole performance, and it seems particularly pertinent presently, as post-Lockdown we all emerge from our own homes. Home should be a haven, but this performance constantly questions that notion.

Throughout we can see influences of hip hop, contemporary dance, jazz, and classical ballet in a fusion that feels ultra-modern and exciting. The synchronisation is dazzling. Even the tiniest of movements is so expressive, be it closed fists opening or fingers frantically typing. Moreover, what strikes me is the expressiveness of the dancers’ faces. These tell a story as much as their bodies do.

The soundscape assaults us with a range of discordant noises and features. We hear crackling static, alarms, and pulses. It reverberates through one’s core as an atmosphere of agitation grows on stage. Movements are smooth, yet jolting; expansive, yet closed. We hear Billie Eilish sing, ‘I had a dream. I got everything I wanted.’ What if we did get everything we wanted? The choreography seems to question whether this would be a blessing or a curse.

At times we could be in a horror film, as the dancers perform movements akin to zombies or ghouls. There are explosive running movements, as if trying to escape. Frequently, it seems every sinew in their bodies is stretched, yet they maintain fluidity when needed and there is beauty amongst the discomposure. Volatile sounds are discharged from mouths; someone vomiting, a cat’s miaow, a cry of angst. The effect is discomfiting, but galvanising. ‘This is not a dream’ is repeated on the soundtrack and it forces one to consider that life is not a rehearsal.

Killing Pig by Sharon Eyalis the final piece. It is fiercely and obdurately physical. The set is stripped back in keeping with the Spartan atmosphere of the eight dancers who arrive on stage in pale flesh-coloured attire. From the very first beat, we feel challenged. The dancers traverse the stage in a facsimile of a strange parade, small steps on tiptoes. A lone female high steps, stretches, and rotates her joints in surprising ways. She is frenetic and jolting, yet also sinuous. The whole effect is unnerving, almost voyeuristic, but you cannot look away.

At times, it is difficult to know where to focus your attention as so much is happening. There are individual dancers, duos, trios, and whole groups who cover the entire stage. The pace does not let up and the intensity never lessens. The music keeps building to the point where you imagine it can build no more, and yet it continues. Bodies glisten with sweat as the exertion shows, but not once does the commitment of these young dancers waver and it is mesmerising. They give so much of themselves that it almost feels intrusive on our part to expect so much of them.

Rambert2 want to ‘inject some inspiration, ambition and belief this evening’ and they succeed. As I leave the studio, a fellow audience member asserts, ‘I want to go dancing! Do you want to go dancing?’ That is the feeling that these early career dancers engender. They inspire you to want to see and participate more in the Arts.

One of the young ensemble tells me how thankful they are that people are coming out to the theatre in these Covid-19 times. If you have the opportunity, do come and support them. You cannot fail to be inspired by the audacious array of talent on display. They remind us that the future of dance is in good hands and, moreover, selfless hearts and souls.

Running time: Home – 30 min / Killer Pig – 45 min (15 min interval)

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