A beautiful display with huge visual impact and character
In association with a number of theatres across the country, including Southampton’s Mayflower, Rambert held their Summer Livestream which contained two pieces that really captured the beauty of the human experience, showcasing interactions that many will have been without for the last year or so.
The first of the two performances was Eye Candy, choreographed by Marne van Opstal and Imre Van Opstal. The realities of the world were married into the performance, with a face masked crew pointing their cameras at the seemingly isolated nude figure crouched in front of a black background. It feels a bit uncomfortable, a bit wrong, as though this is not something we were meant to see; it is something we are not supposed to be watching. Immediately the piece makes a huge impact, with one of its overarching questions being, ‘Why is the naked body offensive?’. There is the sound of falling water and, slowly, other nude figures begin entering the space and contorting the dancer’s body, pulling and stretching into uncomfortable and unwanted positions.
Eye Candy continued with erratic movements and became a battle for control. We were able to see the power of the naked body with heterosexual and homosexual relationships. The technique of the dancers was phenomenal and their movements between styles was seamless. Eye Candy was violent and erotic, but at the same time it was gentle and emotional. The piece ends with our naked female form stood on ‘the highest pedestal’, zooming out to see the crew watching with intent. The piece is able to comment on beauty standards and taboo issues without being too difficult to follow.
The performance was followed by a short interval in which we saw an interview of Artistic Director of Rouge, Benoir Swan Pouffer, by Gloria Rowe of Rambert. During this, we learnt about the online classes that Rambert are offering, spotlighting thier Caribbean dance class with Sheba, a particularly sunny character and vibrant teacher. Unlike usual intervals, it was full of visual information for a viewer and definitely added more to the experience. We even got to meet Brooklyn the French Bulldog, who apparently enjoyed popping up throughout rehearsals.
The second and last performance by Rambert was Rouge, choreographed by Marion Motin. The aim of Rouge was to bring together the worlds of hip-hop and pop with the ‘daring dancers’ of Rambert. We are met with an epic guitar solo in a back alley; the set taking us straight into a gritty New York underground scene. Inside the warehouse, we see a host of exquisitely flamboyant outfits and dancers sporadically dropping and rising with the beats of the music. It reminds viewers of the intense clubbing scene that had been out of action for so long, and the raising luminescent red harkens to another kind of adventure. The piece not only feels cool, but very sensual, which is very much the essence of hip-hop. Suddenly, the dancers remove their heavy outer coats and are more manic, picking each other up and spinning, running around and chasing. They’re fighting, too. The scene is distorted using a specialist mirror and a subversive dancefloor and Rouge becomes more dangerous and exciting. The techno beats are increasing in intensity. The latter half of the piece is reminiscent of a peculiar nightclub flash-mob and the dancers are swallowed up by the rouge lighting.
Despite not being a dancer myself and having no prior knowledge of the form, I was really taken aback by the performances of Rambert. It was a spectacular sight to see and I was thoroughly entertained and entranced throughout. I would recommend everyone to at least have a look at what Rambert are offering or even book a ticket to an upcoming show, which is certainly what I will be doing from now on.