I've just been HTMLing all the ballet.co thoughts, reviews etc and just realised I never posted this...
Rambert at Sadler's with new Twyla Tharp - The Golden Section:
Nice to see Rambert back at Sadler's Wells - it didn't seem so long ago that they were opening the place up and we were all wondering if the theatre would get its performing licence from the local council. Also in attendance are the builders still it seems, though the front of house and street to the side now all look less 'Barratts' than was the case last October.
The theatre seems to have settled down, though there is still much moaning about the cost of booze, and getting through on the phone to book tickets can still be problematic at times. But the seats are comfy and we are seeing a much more varied dance repertoire than has been the case for some time. And if you don't like any part of a triple bill you can wander off round the corner for a swift and cheap veggie curry at Ravi Shankar
Perhaps I'm getting older but the Rambert audience seemed a bit younger than normal. A nice mix until the final applause when the girls behind went into super stamping, scream and screech mode and caused more than a few to wince at volume levels far more damaging then a House disco or white noise. I've often heard a roar and stamping from on high at modern dance shows, but this must be the first time I've sat in-front of the three apparently responsible. I suppose our ears might have suffered less had our zimmer frames been more readily to hand.... Seriously I don't think I've ever heard such an ear splitting - and needless - din.
The primary reason for our being at Sadler's was The Golden Section, a short 15 minute piece that Rambert have recently acquired from Twyla Tharp. I asked Rambert's Press officer what it was like - 'very Tharp' was the considered response. And so it proved.
It's incredibly fast. There are high kicks, there are boogie twists, there's a ball-dancers line, daring jumps, high stepping jumps, pdd, pdt, pd?. And it's so exciting - just sitting still you feel exhausted at the frenzy on display.
Now by and large Rambert dancers aren't American trained and as we know when Tharp came over to create on the RB, she had to modify her style more than a little. So was this less than great stuff? - the answer was a resounding no. It was glorious to see everybody going for it and boogie-ing up to the occasion. Personally I award a nano mark extra to Matthew Hart and Vincent Redmon.
The golden costumes (by Santo Loquasto) add to the excitement and the David Byrne (Talking Heads) music drives things along nicely as well. Apparently the BBC have a video tape of this, indeed the complete full-evening piece (The Catherine Wheel) from which it is taken. Originally choreographed in the early 80's, I hope the tape has not gone missing. But for now it doesn't matter, providing you can get to see Rambert dance it of course.
There are two things I hear about having a Tharp in your company's repertoire. One is that the performing fee often makes folks blink and ask again - whatever that means. Secondly that Twyla usually does deals for pairs of works. I guess we will see if this is true in a season or two - certainly Tharp, like the company's own Christopher Bruce, is a choreographer who turns in stuff that people really seem to enjoy: a good investment if you like.
Bruce's good investment in the programme was Rooster. Like many, I find the Rolling Stones songs irresistible, and never tire of hearing them or seeing it. Incidentally I have a Triple CD which has all the Rooster songs: "The Rolling Stones - Singles Collection, the London Years" Abkco 844 481-2. But not everything in the programme was sweetness and light.
The evening started with Three Gone, Four Left Standing by Rafael Bonachela, a Rambert dancer and young choreographer, who produced it last year. I find it desperately pretentious, with Elizabeth Old (another Rambert dancer) reciting rather prosaic poetry in a flat voice, while a violinist moves about the stage - even stopping to play from time to time. It's hard to figure if the choreography was illustrating the poetry or just movement, but the high point seemed to be the violin making the sound of a fart. But don't be put off by a deaf old cynic - Rambert programmes always deliver something good and we went home happy.