If you’d like to ease yourself into the world of contemporary dance, there can be no better place to start than with a Rambert performance. Speeding their way through their 85th anniversary year, these guys must be doing something right.
Mixed bills are a good introduction to dance — offering variety in mood, style and theme — and the choice for pieces for Sadler’s Wells this week is inspired. Rambert Dance Company have a vast and diverse back catalogue of dances to choose from, with many home-grown choreographers within their ranks, plus numerous seminal works that the company have bought in.
Starting off with the Hietta Horn’s Cardoon Club the mood is set by witty, sophisticated body isolations. The spirit of Cardoon Club is catching, helped by Benjamin Pope's 60s-inspired score. Be prepared to be transported to the echelons of cool where long finger nails are the height of fashion and beaded curtains offer the dancers no privacy at all — it’s all about being seen and the Cardoon Club is the place.
Paul Taylor's Roses, choreographed in 1985, looks neither dated nor the typical dance you would attribute to the title flower. This outing of Taylor’s work is its UK revival and praise must go to the Rambert dancers who perform with such integrity. This barefoot dance now looks more balletic than it did in its original premier 25 years ago, with couplings, floor patters and arabesques fitting snugly to Wagner's Siegfried Idyll. The highlight is Angela Towler and Jonathan Goddard’s white duet, set to Baermann's Adagio. The couple enters the stage for the final minutes of Roses to add a tender duet to the charming sound of Clarinet and Strings.
Tim Rushton's Monolith is hard hitting in a muscular, ripped torso way. Whether the dancers are slaves of ancient times or mortal gods worshiping at the feet of the imposing black column, they move with unrivalled presence. Rushton’s packed a lot into Monolith but standout moments come in the form of a manipulative trio and the final duet in which this time and space, evoked on stage, seems to disappear.
Rambert Dance Company at Sadler’s Wells, Rosebery Avenue EC1 24-28 May, tickets £8-38.
Photo: Eric Richmond