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REVIEW

Rambert dazzles in Hong Kong debut

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 September, 2012, 3:24am

Rambert Dance Company

Kwai Tsing Theatre

Saturday

The Rambert Dance Company is the UK's oldest and most respected modern dance troupe. It rarely performs outside Europe, so Hong Kong was fortunate to feature on its Asian tour.

The four short works showed off some spectacular dancing. But the quality of the choreography was mixed, despite being the work of Christopher Bruce, a world great with a long history at Rambert as dancer, choreographer and artistic director.

Hush, set to music by Bobby McFerrin and Yo-Yo Ma, portrays a family in commedia dell'arte costumes and white-faced make-up. Enthused with Bruce's typical quirkiness, the piece is well structured and has vivid touches of tenderness and sly humour.

The choreography is beautiful; flowing, intensely musical and perfectly finished. This may not be his most major work but it's a fine example of Bruce's style.

Monolith was created for Rambert last year by Tim Rushton, who was born in the UK and trained at the Royal Ballet School.

The theme of the piece - the mystical force of ancient worship embodied by sites such as Stonehenge - is conjured up by stunning design and lighting by Charlotte Ostergaard, Malcolm Glanville and Rushton. The choice of Peteris Vasks' haunting Quartet for Piano, Violin, Viola and Cello, is excellent and the performs are challenged. The piece demands real athleticism and has complex partnering.

But after these two fine works, the final section was a letdown.

Nijinsky's 1912 L'Après-midi d'un Faune is today a curiosity. There is little justification in performing it outside a historical context. What Wild Ecstasy by the troupe's artistic director, Mark Baldwin, was neither wild nor ecstatic, with costumes and choreography seemingly leftovers from a TV pop show circa 1968.

Rambert is very much an ensemble company and all the dancing was of a high standard. It was also a pleasure to see Eryck Brahmania, a former soloist with Hong Kong Ballet, on stage here.

 

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