Ram­bert: Two

The Guardian - G2 - - Live Reviews - Lyn­d­sey Win­ship

★★★★☆ Sadler’s Wells, Lon­don Un­til Satur­day

Eight hun­dred young dancers ap­plied to join Ram­bert2, the new sis­ter com­pany of the long-es­tab­lished Ram­bert. Tonight, we meet the cho­sen 13, danc­ing three works along­side one per­formed by the main com­pany.

The dancers are as im­pres­sive as you would imag­ine, with tech­ni­cal chops and at­ti­tude. It’s not an iden­tikit troupe but a col­lec­tion of in­di­vid­u­als, who throw them­selves into tonight’s premiere, Grey Mat­ter, by Benoit Swan Pouf­fer. The work has echoes of Hofesh Shechter and the chest-pop­ping ac­cents of krump, strong­est when the mor­ph­ing mass is hooked into the quak­ing beat of fu­tur­is­tic rap­per Gaika’s score.

Ram­bert proper per­form Christo­pher Bruce’s Ghost Dances. The 1981 work – a trib­ute to the dis­ap­peared of Pinochet’s Chile – seems quaint by com­par­i­son, with its painted back­drop, melodic score and the­atri­cal­ity, but com­pellingly crafted chore­og­ra­phy doesn’t date and nei­ther does di­vine danc­ing.

The dark sub­ject mat­ter of Ghost Dances is treated gen­tly, whereas the more neb­u­lous 21st-cen­tury works – which in­clude Rafael Bonachela’s 2004 duet E2 7SD and look to street, com­mer­cial and club­bing – are per­formed on gloomy stages, with un­nerv­ing sound­scapes, dis­torted bod­ies and dystopian ag­gres­sion. What does this say about us now?

In Killer Pig, by Sharon Eyal with Gai Be­har, this ag­gres­sion and the sheer vol­ume, at its cli­max, be­comes stress­ful. But that brazen in­ten­sity, with spik­i­ness and sass, is part of its power and it’s the stand­out work. She’s not afraid of rep­e­ti­tion, riff­ing on one idea rather than the er­ratic stream of con­scious­ness so com­mon in con­tem­po­rary dance. Her au­di­ence can get into her groove be­fore she swal­lows them into ei­ther some kind of drug night­mare or the best night ever, de­pend­ing on your point of view.

It’s ex­actly the kind of work that a young com­pany such as Ram­bert2 should be do­ing: edgy, cool, chal­leng­ing, ex­cel­lent.

Edgy, cool and chal­leng­ing... Ram­bert2 per­form Killer Pig

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