Performances at 7.30pm on November 6th, 7th, 8th; 9th and 10th
Schools matinee (shorter programme) at 1.30pm on November 7th
Matinee performance at 2.30pm on November 10th
Stand-by tickets available for students (subject to availability) 1 hour before at the box-office (any seat for £17.50)
Marie Rambert, a Polish immigrant and former Ballets Russes dancer, founded her own dance company in London in 1926, which makes Rambert the UK’s oldest contemporary dance company. For nearly a century, the dancers have been presenting impactful work from international leading choreographers to audiences throughout the UK. However, their home located on the South Bank right across Waterloo Bridge and neighboring King’s Waterloo campus, is just a stone's throw away. This is all the reason more to take part in King’s Cultural Experience Award, which regularly brings students on a backstage visit of the venue.
Similarly to many dance companies worldwide and in search for further innovation Rambert has launched its own junior company baptized Rambert2, which is currently undergoing its inaugural season. It is composed of 13 young dancers aged between 18 and 25 years old, who were selected amongst 800 applicants over a 4 days long audition process. The performance was the young ensemble’s London premiere, and a buzzing excitement was palpable through out the theatre. Possibly crowded with dancers’ friends and family who might have showed up in support of the event, the audience was fabulously fervent, supportive and justifiably ecstatic. Even the young dancers seemed slightly dazzled by the acclaim received, which repeatedly created some discreetly moving moments while they bowed.
Not only did the brand new ensemble introduce itself to the capital with a challenging triple-bill, in addition dancers from the senior company appeared to perform a company classic. To say the least, the show was overwhelmingly stimulating with its display of world-class dancers, both experienced or freshly out of school, in some riveting choreography.
The evening’s first piece Grey Matter is a creation tailor-made for Rambert2 by Benoit Swan Pouffer, the former artistic director of the much-regretted New York-based Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, where he had been recognized for bringing emerging international choreographers to US audiences. Freshly appointed Guest Artistic Director of Rambert, he has a foot in the new and old worlds, as well as a perfect understanding of both.
Possibly, it is this cultural cosmopolitanism that enabled Pouffer to create choreography perfectly fitted to the young dancers. As soon as the first note hits, the sweeping beat of Brixton-raised GAIKA’s electronic score grounds the piece in an epitomic modern atmosphere. The choreography seems spiked by a couple of street-crew inspired moves. However, the mood subtly switches from a joyful atmosphere to a much darker and menacing one, a shift that only becomes noticeable once it has already happened. The choreography seems to relate the occurring of a terrible event, to which the dancers react with mutual support and comfort. The striking complicity in which the dancers interact, interpret, dance and perform with each other is outstanding, especially while considering the group is just shy of four months old.
E2 7SD, conceptualized and choreographed by Rafael Bonachela, is an enigmatic duo presented as both a performance and a sound sculpture. The sound sculpture by Oswaldo Macia in collaboration with Santiago Posada takes us on a walk through an urban space. The two dancers deliver a touching performance, putting in movement the complexity of human melancholy.
Then, the senior company takes over in Christopher Bruce’s 1981 Ghost Dances, one of Rambert’s staple pieces. Inspired by Joan Jara’s book An Unfinished Song recounting Augusto Pinochet’s coup in Chile, the choreography also shows the political journey of two distinct social groups opposing each other all the while examining the individual stakes in play.
Finally, the evening closes in ecstasy with Rambert2 brilliantly performing Killer Pig, Sharon Eyal’s extremely demanding and straining hour-long choreographic hit. The intense masterpiece provokes an aesthetic shockwave. The highly stylized movements dramatically convey a sense of urgency facing a doomed and painful fate. The intensely physical choreography (repeatedly) demonstrates the young dancers' virtuosity and skill. Not only are they outstanding performers with extreme interpretation abilities, each dancer also shows remarkable artistic individuality.
The show continues its London run at the Sadler’s Wells Theatre until Saturday, and should not be missed. If you already are a balletomaniac, the two Rambert ensembles will take you on a wild contemporary ride. If you have never seen a dance performance before, Two is the perfect combination of artistic approachability and excellence to get a first contemporary taste.