Rambert2 @ King's Theatre, Edinburgh

The triple-bill from Rambert's sister company Rambert2 is explosive, raw and and brimming with youthful promise

Live Review by Roisin O'Brien | 30 May 2019
  • Rambert2 @ King's Theatre, Edinburgh

Youth and its potential is the driving force of Rambert2. A newly founded junior company to the main Rambert ensemble, Rambert2 gives dancers their first taste of professional life. This triple-bill celebrates what dancing at this formative stage can be: explosive, fast, excessively bendy, and raw.

This is most apparent in Rambert Director Benoit Swan Pouffer’s opening work, Grey Matter. Out of the three works presented, it is the only work commissioned for Rambert2 and it fits the dancers like a glove. Unabashed in their attack, the dancers are astoundingly physically dexterous as they weave into Pouffer’s supple yet grounded style. There’s an organic feel to the movement that nonetheless still hits those high arabesques and almost Krump-like crunches.

The scenography is bare, as in much contemporary dance, but the costumes by COTTWEILER of netted white fabric and bloody red tie-dye are textured without restricting the movement. The lighting from Lee Curran adds livid colour at points, though with some seemingly unnecessary cuts to black. A final set piece sees the dancers walk deliberately to the industrial electronics of GAIKA, while one individual tries to disrupt their conformity. A juicy piece of dance, excellently paced. 

E2 7SD is a duet from Rafael Bonachela, danced by Conor Kerrigan and Aishwarya Raut. With a ‘sound sculpture’ from Oswaldo Macia and Santiago Posada, we are thrown into the clatter of London, its squeaking trains and stressed inhabitants. The dancers begin taut, irrevocably joined.  As the stakes increase, they find it increasingly hard to continue, until they collapse. A demanding duet danced with rigour. 

The evening ends with Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar’s Killer Pig. While admirably danced, it is hard to find something concrete to take away. Eyal’s vocabulary delights in the weird, with spikey twitches and horse-like pawing. The piece advances insistently with exacting group synchronicity, daredevil jumps and contorted postures, but its structure neither gives its audience big pay-offs or challenges their need for those pay-offs. The dancers’ near nakedness and thrusts and wiggles may attempt to provoke, but it becomes familiar, almost tedious. An oddly draining performance.

Despite this overdrawn ending, Rambert2 revels in beginnings. Established artists are a joy to watch for their finesse, their ability to hold something back. For these dancers, it is precisely their untuned, energetic presence that is their strength, and they flourish when given choreography matched to that spirit.

Rambert2 are touring until 8 Jun