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Rambert - Ghost Dances & Other Works

The masterpiece of world famous choreographer Christopher Bruce, plus two newer specially-commissioned works: The Three Dancers by Didy Veldman and Transfigured Night by Kim Brandstrup.
Ghost Dances explores Pinochet's reign of terror and imagery from The Day Of The Dead
New Theatre, Oxford, Wed 15 March - Fri 17 March 2017

March 16, 2017
Mesmerising, experimental and uncompromising

Leading dance company Rambert is on tour with a contemporary trio of works, two recent pieces accompanying Christopher Bruce's iconoclastic 1981 piece Ghost Dances. Ghost Dances is about atrocity, and disasters (personal, private, conceptual, cruel, inescapable and all-consuming) thread through the night, celebrated and constrained by Rambert's pin-perfect choreography and a precise and pleasingly experimental live ensemble band. Transfigured Night opens this evening's triple bill with shades of Hollywood romance and classical theatre. Set to a Schoenberg score and built around a series of anguished dance duets, the piece explores revelation and devastation within relationships. The leads perform with a powerful, almost awkward physicality; Simone Damberg Würtz combines desperate strength with luminous fragility.

Next up, The 3 Dancers mutates the famous Picasso painting into two dance trios in stark monochrome, negotiating a stage stabbed by vast interruptions. Veldman's astonishing choreography slides from seamless flow to cubist stutters, creating the perfect showcase for the mesmerising, almost eerie fluidity of lead Daniel Davidson. Composer Elena Kats-Chernin's extraordinary arrangements build to a stark Guernica tableau and the end.

Ghost Dances finishes the night. Echoes of this passionate, political piece are visible; from Disney to pop videos, it is part of our response now to the unthinkable violence of oppression. Essentially a dance of death, the dancers (often called peasants, but here a migrant worker, politician and businessman levelled and shredded by the whirlwind of war) shuffle in short steps, lost in corpse-light against a dim background, until each is abbreviated by unseen violence. The poignant Latin American folk music is familiar now; the Goyaesque writhing of the three ghosts is no longer astonishingly new. But tragedy is not dimmed by familiarity, and when the lovers from the first piece return for one final dance, the house gasps.

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