Rambert’s mix of new commissions with repertory work and revivals makes for a lively and eclectic programme. The latest piece is Reflection, from rising young choreographer Fin Walker and her regular musical collaborator Ben Park, which deploys Walker’s distinctive style of stop-start action and knotty partnerwork to riveting effect.
The energy splinters them into combative duos and trios, with solos sent out like stray spinning particles.
Five dancers linked in a line tug and yank each other sideways, sparking chain reactions of stabbing kicks and whiplash jolts. The energy splinters them into combative duos and trios, with solos sent out like stray spinning particles. But they are constantly pulled back into the line, as if by magnetic force. Behind them, another line of five echo their moves like flickering shadows; gradually, the two groups merge and pair into angular friezes. In earlier works, Walker’s tenacious pursuit of her choreographic ideas sometimes seemed almost to flog them senseless; here, the sheer density and intensity of the work pack a punch right through to the end.
Rafael Bonachela, associate choreographer at Rambert, made Linear Remains in 2001; now he has been given a welcome opportunity to expand and improve it. Its impetus comes from extending the arms and legs in different directions, pulling the dancers into long lunges and precarious tilts.
Bonachela is both inventive and playful: a woman is slid backwards by a partner, one splayed leg against her ear like someone else’s errant limb; another swivels like a spit as she is carried in the splits. The dancers’ technique is taut as a wire and the choreography is sleek, if somewhat self-contained.
Hans van Manen’s Visions Fugitives, an older work from 1990, is a series of visualisations of Prokofiev’s music. It’s middle-of-the-road modern ballet – fine as far it goes, but lacking vision. In a different class is the revival of Frederick Ashton’s Five Brahms Waltzes in the Manner of Isadora Duncan, an enchanting evocation of another era, like a pre-Raphaelite painting given breath. As ever with Rambert, the live music is a treat.