Rambert2 performing at The King’s Theatre Edinburgh tonight gave us, the audience, a chance to catch up with a group and project designed to bring together some of the most exciting new dancers of today as they performed two works that launched the international careers of their choreographers, plus one new work. New creative dance groups are nothing new, but what makes this one special is that it has the support and developmental structure of the highly respected and well-established Rambert company around it. Add into this the fact that the 13 dancers of Rambert2 have been selected from an audition pool of over 800 dancers, and it is obvious that everyone here is already displaying something individual and special at this stage of their dance careers.
This show from Rambert2 features three works. Two are works that launched the international careers of their choreographers (E2 7SD and Killer Pig), but our opening work, Grey Matter, has been created specially for Rambert2 by Rambert’s Guest Artistic Director, Benoit Swan Pouffer. As a performing artist himself, Benoit Swan Pouffer has an impressive career resume ( a principal dancer with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre for seven years) before moving onto many other notable highlights in his career.
The promotional information describes, in part, Grey Matter as “with original music by Brixton-born electronic and dancehall artist GAIKA and designs by London-based fashion duo COTTWEILER” and that does leave me on a borderline of where does art end and product placement begin. At the end of the day though, does this matter any as music, fashion and dance are so often an inseparable fusion of one another?
Music was actually the first response that I had to this work and the opening minutes of sound from GAIKA were both captivating and slightly disturbing in equal measures for me. This is my first exposure to the music of GAIKA (aka Gaika Tavares), and his record company describe his work as "gothic dancehall and industrial electronics". Watching the almost “rhythmic breathing” physical movements of Grey Matter fusing perfectly to GAIKA’S music raised perhaps more questions than answers for me on this work, but the one thing that was clear was the technical skill levels of the dancers on stage and their ability to express ideas in movement. One of the first things I had to do was find out more about this work and also the music of GAIKA (who has a new fan now).
In sharp contrast to the ensemble work of Grey Matter, our second piece, E2 7SD by choreographer Rafael Bonachela (from 2004) reduces our stage to only two dancers – Conor Kerrigan and Aishwarya Raut. Here in E27SD, a work based duet based on two dancers’ personal diaries, often very angular movements give us a sense of the tensions between our two dancers that these diaries contain and Conor and Aishwarya become wonderfully fluid but wordless tellers of the lives of their characters.
Last on our triple bill this evening was Killer Pig from choreographers Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar (2009), and this re-staged version acts as a showcase for just what many are obviously hoping for in the future from these dancers, and contemporary and classic techniques merge together seamlessly with at times the pose and poise you would expect on a high fashion cat-walk.
It is perhaps unfair to select any of these dancers for special mention, but there is always one dancer who seems to have that ability to always attract your eye wherever they happen to be on stage and for some reason do a lot even at the point they are doing little, and for me tonight that dancer was Salome Pressac.
There is, I know, more to come from Rambert2, and I look forward to being in the audience for their next performance when they return to Edinburgh
Review by Tom King