is quite possible the most important dance company performing in Britain today;
at the very least their influence is far-reaching. Known for presenting large
scale works, it’s usually worth the entry price just to see the scale of the
performances. Their new production
Divided in to three sections the narrative unfolds after a devastating confession.
The piece starts with the Whitburn Band on stage in tiered seating, with low droning coming from the tuba players that moves between slow to fast, representing energy shifts found in the world and throughout history. The music composed by Gavin Higgins wouldn't sound out of place in a 1940s’ noir film. It’s a good solid composition but doesn’t quite fit with the choreography by Mark Baldwin.
There are plenty of great flourishes and recurring themes, but the piece is too long and appears to lose focus in some movements. At times it seems shackled to the music and other points appears to deviate from it. With no clear narrative I found it difficult to follow and my attention wavered from time to time. But throughout it is clear how much talent is on display.
The 3 Dancers was the second piece of the night and proved a real highlight. Inspired by Picasso’s painting, Les Trois Danseuses, it attempts to bring Cubism to life and largely succeeds. The music by Elena Kats-Chernin has a great French vibe and goes a long way to hold the themes together. The set and lighting also set the scene brilliantly, creating multi faceted perspectives. Large shards are lowered during the piece, impressively close to the dancers giving a palpable feeling of danger.
A love triangle is played out in front of us examining themes that Picasso dealt with during the time period the painting was created in. It’s a macabre dance, with humour and passion. Simone Damberg Würtz was allowed to shine in this, and she provided to be the stand out performer from an incredibly talented pool.
The final piece was Transfigured Night, choreographed by Kim Brandstrup to Arnold Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht, which in turn is based on a work by German poet Richard Dehmel. The costumes and set design are also influenced by the works of figurative painter Egon Schiele. With all these early 20th century Germanic influences it provides the piece with a deep melancholic vibe without blundering into Wagner-like melodrama.
Divided in to three sections the narrative unfolds after a devastating confession. Each movement represent a different possible outcome. They are all work well, but the last movement representing the lovers compromising in and uncertain of each other is truly heart wrenching and beautiful.