dpm is a Birmingham-based freelancer with experience of arts and lifestyle features.
Men - and women - strut their stuff
Rambert may be an institution, but it's a dance institution which has managed to remain fresh and at the forefront of modern dance.
One only has to look at the choreographers whose new work is being premiered by Rambert in this UK tour to see that. This season features prermieres by Kim Brandstrup, Alexander Whitley, Didy Veldman and Rambert artistic director Mark Baldwin.
Alexander Whitley's Frames forms part of the triple bill
At Birmingham Repertory Theatre, the company presents a triple bill blending the old with the new. Headlining is Christopher Bruce's Rooster, created nearly 25 years ago and set to songs recorded by the Rolling Stones.
It's easy to see the success of its longevity as this fun piece is a kaleidoscope of colour, movement and humour. At its centre is the rooster – the vain and preening alpha male who believes he rules the roost. Here Miguel Altunaga has his movements down to perfection, one minute a proud man the next a strutting bird
. From these opening scenes, Rooster is a whirl of movement as men jockey for positions of primacy, women give as good as they get and nobody is ever quite sure who is top dog. All set to energetic tunes including Little Red Rooster, Paint it Black, Ruby Tuesday and Sympathy for the Devil, it can't help but raise a smile.
The triple bill programme begins with Alexander Whitley's Frames in which the physicality of the dancers is set against a series of harsh metal frames which snapshot them to the audience. Twelve dancers all dressed in khaki trousers and white shirts shift and change around an industrial set which begins with single bars that gradually build to become the frames.
Spotlighted under moving lamps, the work is packed with stark contrast of light and shade, not just in terms of staging but also in terms of Daniel Bjarnason's music and Whitley's choreography.
Sandwiched in between is Brandstrup's Transfigured Night which premiered in Birmingham. Inspired by Arnold Schoenberg's music and Richard Dehmel's poem of the same name and the imagery of Egon Schiele, it's an intriguing interplay of relationships.
Featuring three scenarios we see couples pulling apart, coming together and trying to find equilibrium. There's anger, rejection, forgiveness, tenderness, disappointment and hope all encapsulated in movement.
Brandstrup's choreography captures the fragility of human relationships where true understanding is often a painful experience.