3-5 March 2016
Reviewed by Christine Charlesworth
The New Victoria Theatre in Woking is one of the best theatre venues in this part of Surrey. The staff are always very helpful, the design of the bars is very good with lots of space and seating and a resident pianist entertains the audience prior to the performances and during the interval in the corner of the modern piano bar. Parking is very easy at the multi-story Peacocks centre car park attached to the theatre.
We took our seats in the theatre full of anticipation. With two intervals between the three very different dance-works we hoped we were in for a treat.
Ballet Rambert are at the New Victoria for only 3 nights from Thursday 3rd March so I felt extremely lucky to be invited to see their latest performance at the start of their tour. This is the fourth time I have been able to see this amazing dance company perform and, yet again, the choreography and dancing were often outstanding. Rambert performed a triple bill of works, Hydragyrum, Picasso inspired The Three Dancers and Terra Incognita, which were all very different in story-line and choreography, and all used very different live music.
First performance was The Three Dancers which was inspired by the true story behind Picasso’s well known masterpiece painting. This is a new work, choreographed by internationally renowned Didy Veldman, who uses 2 men and 1 woman dressed in white as the main characters with 3 other dancers, dressed in black, performing as their shadows – or perhaps their “darker selves” as shown in Picasso’s work. As Picasso used his very distinctive cubist style in his painting so this is applied to many movements of the dancers to great effect, but often the moves are also enfolding and flow into almost impossible shapes. The set was excellent being very plain to begin, with just a large square of white light on a polished black, reflective floor. During the dance the area is pierced with a huge shard of glass, then another comes down cutting between the dancers and finally a third shard. Together they hang down, cutting through the dance space, adding strength to the dance routines and giving interesting reflections. The music for this piece features an original score by the leading Australian composer Elena Kats-Chernin, who is known for her diversity in music, which includes not only dance music but also operas, film scores, orchestral and solo. Elena is well known for always using haunting melodies and a wonderful rhythm.
Hydragyrum was the second performance. This was choreographed by Patricia Okenwa and was her first full-length work. Okenwa joined Rambert in 2004 and over thelast 11 years she has worked with many leading choreographers. This is a world premier for Hydragyrum which features an original score by Serbian composer Aleksandra Vrebalor. The work is for six dancers and uses the ideas of “disconnection and connection, the mass and the individual”. A huge mirror hangs behind the dancers and this slowly moves in angle to show the orchestra and then reflects down to the dancers giving the audience a birds-eye view of the group and a completely different feel to the movements the dancers are making, which sometimes appear threatening in the mirror images. The dancing becomes rather frantic at times, jerky and confrontational as the dancers are clad in dark, enveloping costumes. Once the dancers have shed these then the dancing becomes more fluid, the screen becomes a large canvas and the dance moves are so supple that the performers appear to be made out of rubber-coated bendy wire. Unfortunately I found the music for this piece rather loud and distracting.
Terra Incognita, the final dance of the evening, was very different from the other two pieces. Choreographer Shobana Jeyasingh has a very distinct style which she used to great effect in this piece, combining contemporary movement with the elaborate patterns of Indian classical dance. The music for this performance was by composer and producer Gabriel Prokofiev.
Unfortunately this music was again too loud at times and also seemed to include a deal of electrical crackle. This dance piece was in three parts and was inspired by ideas and images of journeys, difference and distance. The costumes worked well, there were some strong dance moves and all the body movements matched the music. I felt that they had saved the best ‘til last.
Rambert will be at Woking until 5thMarch, Theatr Clwyd 9-12 March, Theatre Royal Brighton 16-19 March, Sadlers Wells 10-14 May, Garsington Opera 14-17 July.
Tickets cost from £13.90 to £35.40 (plus £2.85 transaction fee).
Rambert – The 3 Dancers is at the New Victoria Theatre in Woking until 5 March 2016. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0844 871 7645.
New Victoria Theatre, The Ambassadors, Peacocks Centre, Woking, Surrey, GU21 6GQ