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Rambert Dance Company: The Castaways Tour, Autumn 2013

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Rambert opened The Castaways Tour at The Lowry last night (9th October) with a programme consisting of L'Apres-midi d'un Faune, What Wild Ecstacy, Monolith and The Castaways (World premiere).


The evening started really well with L'Apres-midi.  Dane Hurst was a jolly fine Faune - sensual,exotic ahd hedonistic.  It was fantastic to see Angela Towler as The Nymph.  I loved it!


After a pause we moved on to What Wild Ecstacy, which had 3 giant wasps hanging from the ceiling and the dancers exotically costumed in pink.  I assume it was about an insect colony.  I was bored rigid!  There was nothing about the movement that captured me and I didn't like the score.


After the interval we were treated to Tim Rushton's Monolith, which I found not un-elegaic (I saw that phrase recently and thought it suited!), lyrical with interesting choreography for a variety of situations.  The set had some monolithic towers at the back and a sort of bluey-green backcloth that gave an impression of very ancient times.  Without quite being able to explain why, I found the piece very beautiful and quite soothing.


The final piece was the world premier of Barak Marshall's The Castaways.  A group of 12 people were stranded in a space that may have been a basement with a rubbish shute coming into it.  There was a narrator who set the scene and then the rest was a lot of shouting interspersed with a little dance.  Such dance as there was, was what I call tribal style with the dancers performing the same movement in groups.  I've seen it done better by Hofesh Schecter.  I liked the score which was a mixture of, amongst others Balkan and Yiddish tunes.  I thought the whole piece was abysmal.


Overall it was a disappointing evening from Rambert with the abysmal outweighing the enjoyable.

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Gosh, Janet! I don't think that I've ever seen such harsh criticism from you about a performance by any dance company before.


Just shows how totally disappointed I was with the evening and it upsets me because I have been watching and loving Rambert since the late 1970s - some years before I got into ballet.

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  • 2 weeks later...

We saw Rambert at the Theatre Royal in Norwich last night (18th.) Our programme consisted of Itzik Galili's 'Sub', Dutiful Ducks by Richard Alston, Sounddance by Merce Cunningham and Barak Marshall's The Castaways.


For me, this was one of the best Rambert programmes I've seen recently as it was so varied and really showed off the versatility of the dancers as well as the broad appeal of the Rambert style and history.


Sub was a powerful and dramatic opening piece with much energy and control from the all male cast. Though all the dancers were superb, Miguel Altunaga really stood out for me here.


I was a bit nervous about Dutiful Ducks as for me some of Alston's choreography can feel a bit removed, but this piece was playful and fun - performed to a loop of repeated words - and danced with virtuosity by Adam Blyde.


I loved Sounddance - of course this piece belongs to a very particular era (premiered in 1975 in Detroit by Merce Cunningham Dance Company) but it did not feel out of time or place on this bill. Once you get your eye in, the movement is addictive and its apparent simplicity grows into something complex, uplifting and intriguing as more dancers join the stage. Dane Hurst commanded my attention throughout - he is such an 'alive' dancer, constantly in the moment which brings a feeling of past, present and future to all his movement. The electronic soundtrack is wonderful: to an audience in 2013 it is both 'futuristic' and outdated, something unknowable yet deeply familiar.


Unfortunately I have to disagree with Janet about The Castaways, as I loved it. I just felt it was such a refreshing change of pace and style for the Rambert company, and a piece of capsule dance theatre which brings them into line with so much of what is going on in the broader world of contemporary dance.


I personally wouldn't compare it against Hofesh Schechter's work, it just felt very different from that. It's true that for those who want to see an evening of pure dance, there could be some frustration here but the staging and the narrative held the piece together beautifully. The moments of full out dancing burst through the piece in intermittent periods, elevating the mood alongside the rich and swinging soundtrack. The dancers coped with the characterisation and text very well indeed and did not seem out of their comfort zone, which for me simply demonstrates what an amazing ensemble the Rambert company is.


The one thing I didn't enjoy about the evening was the sign-language interpretation that accompanied all the pieces, except the Cunningham. The interpreter herself was very good at her job, and I do see why it would be of benefit for the Castaways piece, but I'm afraid I found her presence rather a distraction that took my focus and concentration away from the dancers.

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Just a heads-up for anyone planning to see it in Sadler's Wells this week - The Rite of Spring, performed by the Rambert School, is on at 6:15 pm on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, free to ticket holders for that evening.


Typically, Tuesday is the only night I have free! 

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Here are a couple of pics from Foteini, who was also at the rehearsal



Estela Merlos, Kym Alexander,Julia Gillespie  & Adam Park in The Castaways by Barak Marshall

© Foteini Christofilopoulou. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr




Rambert Dance Company in The Castaways by Barak Marshall

© Foteini Christofilopoulou. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr


See more...


Set from DanceTabs - Rambert: The Castaways

Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

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  • 4 months later...

Went to see the Castaways programme by the Rambert yesterday who are at present in Brighton.


This programme started with the Castaways which I thought was quite entertaining once I got used to the dancers speaking. I thought the speaking fitted well with the piece in this instance but somehow I didn't feel it came to any real satisfactory conclusion so although the dancing was excellent (as always) there was a feeling of slight disappointment with the piece. I wouldn't mind seeing it again though


We then had a piece called "Dutiful Ducks" I have no idea why it's called this.....no clue I could discern from either the spoken score or the dance itself but again some lovely dancing from Dane Hurst.


The third piece was Sound dance! The dancing was brilliant in this and quite fascinating the way the dancers met formed alliances, then groups and then broke off to join new groups and so on. The score was unusual to say the least.....a mixture of giant insect noises with bits of machine workings thrown in. For about the first ten minutes it all pulsated together really well almost had a sort of primeval feel about it but then I must say inspite of the quality of the dancing the score did get on my nerves.......hugely.....so much so that I just wanted it to end so in the end for me it detracted from the dancing so I sort of remained detached from the piece and was rather glad when they started to leave the stage one by one the last one spinning off as fantastically as he had come on.


The final piece was by a long way my favourite. This was Rooster and all to Stones music! All great numbers too :) The dancing was just absolutely fabulous in this piece and they really looked as if they were enjoying it all. A real feast of a performance. I can still remember quite a few set moves from this and would love to learn some of this Choreography. Wonderfully joyous and just made you want to leap onto the stage and join them!! It would have been worth going for this piece alone.

As quite a few dancers seemed to be in three of the pieces it's a wonder they had the energy to dance Rooster but they sure did!!

All in all a very enjoyable afternoon and at a fraction of London prices as an added bonus!


It was also very nice to see one of the company dancing his heart out and especially loved his moves in Rooster.....who..when I was up in London in December enjoying their open events to celebrate their new London home..was injured and unable to dance. He accompanied us around on the tour of the building then but was certainly back in excellent form yesterday.

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I saw them once and they have there modern style. They had one fun piece. The other two are of modern contemporary style which I could not get into. However they are steeped in history and an important company. I guess I like the story stuff having said that I have DVDs of Old Kirov and Bolshoi pieces pure dance so maybe I like pure classical ballet then. I once saw a local dance company (more contemporary) put on a piece in a Local Gala which was fast moving and great too watch.


I guess maybe then why Swan Lake is greatest ballet is it is all pure dance from beginning to end. At times I just think bring on the dancers.

Edited by Euan
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