Everyone’s favourite equestrian well is alive, half-filled but resounding with tittering shoals of teenagers. My own school trip to Conisbrough Castle seems a little bland in comparison. But it’s fitting that a young audience witness Rambert2, the offshoot of the prestigious elder sibling (Rambert), in its fledgling steps at this venue.
11 dancers battled tooth and elegantly extended claw for a place in the initiative, and their energy and excitement cannot be questioned. Yet some questions must be asked, or else this would be a very dull review.
We start with HOME, choreography by Micaela Taylor. An exploration the dangers lurking at home. Candice MacAllister’s set and Jessica Hung Han Yun’s lighting bring nothing particularly novel to the concept. Strip LED lighting rim a minimal domestic setting, and rainbow flashes of different colours seem only to contrast with the movement not add to the themes. Red, blue, yellow, green, repeat…hardly gripping.
The choreography seems overly informed by the Bille Ellish tracks, and spoken word, as the dancers can be seen to anticipate the upcoming cues. However, there are visually pleasing moments, flashing LED doorways and an illuminated pas de deux from Judy Luo and D’Angelo Castro. Spirited but interestingly distant and separate (certainly ones to keep a beady eye out for). Luo especially forms an enigmatic spearhead for the diamond formation that crops up throughout the piece, and some nice handwork is done by the ensemble behind her. Despite the energy provided the shapes created feel overly literal and stay on a similar plane of physical suffering.
Killer Pig, on the other hand, is a bird of a different feather altogether. Sharon Eyal’s and Gai Behar vision has the dancers in nude tone, tight granny pants/leotards, and nothing else strutting around the stage like a group of pale flamingos. High on their heels, heads jutting out, arms like baby dinosaurs these velociraptors transcend humanity. Gone are the cheap lamps and LED strips of HOME… in its place rolling clouds of haze and…not much else. Nothing in fact. Eyal/Behar’s choreography takes centre stage, and what choreography. Repeated sections make the whole effect feel like a trip, splashes of humour bring a lightness to the surrealism and the transparent coats of sweat add a visceral note. Ori Lichtik’s pounding electronic mix of clashing instruments sets a thundering inevitability. The dancers are stiff, with constant explosive movement for 45 minutes, and their panting bodies show it. They prance like peacocks, gyrate like club-goers, and tremble like racehorses and this mix of animalistic and contemporary movement is refreshing within the balletic twist. The only let-down is a small one as the solos feel disappointing in comparison to the flock sections.
Ending with a thrashing crescendo the dancers pulsate their chests, gleaming muscles, and bones visible in the harsh golden lights. Their intensity, outstanding. Physical skill, outstanding and choreography…you’ve guessed it…OUTSTANDING.
Overall, the evening is unequally weighted, like the raft in Titanic one must sink for the other to survive apparently. The importance of strong choreography has never been more apparent. What is consistent throughout is the 11 early career dancers stepping out with nervous but clearly gifted feet. These are swans to watch whether they join Rambert or scatter to the four corners of the dance world, as in their current herd, they are a sight both rare and wonderful.