Hannah Buckley and Léa Tirabasso: Double Bill

Posted: June 15th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Performance | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Hannah Buckley and Léa Tirabasso: Double Bill

Hannah Buckley and Léa Tirabasso, Double Bill, The Place, June 3

Simon Palmer, Hannah Buckley and the Universe (photo: Amy Buckley / Emanuele Pecorari)

S/HE is a duet that reflects on the questions, ‘do men need feminism?’ and ‘does feminism need men?’. As a dancer and thus already on the fringes of what chauvinistic patriarchy might consider ‘male’, Simon Palmer may feel the first question is redundant and for Hannah Buckley, a witty and passionate advocate of dissolving such social imperatives as having children (see her Woman With Eggs), the second question is rhetorical. Neither question, however, addresses the more personal one of the common ground between the two sexes, which is what S/HE reveals and negotiates choreographically in terms of implicitly heterosexual relations. As the work begins, the common ground is the stage area covered in cards printed with a picture of the starry universe — about as vast a context as one could imagine. Palmer and Buckley in latex unisex overalls (courtesy of Lauren Reyhani) crawl around with eyes closed, feeling for the cards and constructing with them small houses with precarious balance. In the course of their blind activity they knock over as many card houses as they build. This is Buckley’s sense of humour sharpening our concentration as she makes her opening statement: we may be sharing common ground but all our efforts will collapse if we remain blind to the way in which we share. Thereafter Buckley uses a raft of texts, either spoken or recorded (the latter more audible), that set out the arguments for her position: from Gloria Steinem to Iris Marion Young, and from standup comedian Bill Burr to scripts by Buckley and Palmer. I find texts are more accessible in written form as they are not always compatible — especially in this kind of volume — with the spatial or physical appreciation of associated movement. I find myself dividing my attention from one to the other like adversaries in a game, but what Buckley and Palmer appear to illustrate in their performance together is the fragile reality of the stated principles of feminist theory. Neither Buckley nor Palmer seem particularly happy with the result, especially in a duet of intertwined, upended forms, when Palmer appears to suffocate Buckley between his legs. It is only when Buckley dances alone that she allows herself the detached pleasure of being SHE, when the dry wit and serious intent of the work break into a smile. Buckley states in the program note that ‘rather than providing answers, S/HE wants to give audiences space to imagine new possibilities for co-existing.’ There is no doubt about the sincerity of the work, but there is a mournful quality, a sadness in the performance that mitigates the potential of the proposal; the choreographic interaction does not appear to share the intellectual inspiration.

Léa Tirabasso’s TOYS (yes, both works this evening are in capitals) is more philosophical than it appears. In a dance work that treats the subject of hedonism, the moral underpinning is less visible than the celebration of the body, and with a cast as outrageously physical as Joss Carter, James Finnemore, Elsa Petit, Georges Maikel Pires Monteiro and Rosie Terry Toogood, the balance is predestined to excess. Tirabasso nevertheless reins it all in with a simple expedient in the form of a prologue and an epilogue that remind us of the moral implications of the work. At the very beginning we see Toogood in a circle of light, very much alone with her thoughts, and at the end, after all the choreographic debauchery, she returns to that ‘circle of public solitude’ to ponder her predicament. It is an eloquent image of the quote from Blaise Pascal’s Pensées that Tirabasso prints in the program: “However full of sadness a man may be, he is happy for the time, if you can prevail upon him to enter into some amusement.”

Even if the context of TOYS is contemporary, its spirit predates the influence of feminism by three centuries or so, and is thus a far cry — but a good programming distance — from S/HE. Both works return to a point of personal responsibility. Buckley and Palmer get to grips intellectually with gender equality even if the physical imagery channels a sense of personal isolation, while Tirabasso lets everything go in her exploration of hedonistic human relations to arrive at a point of personal awakening. As a statement of intent about human relations that proposes an egalitarian way forward, S/HE is the intellectual heavyweight while TOYS presents an exuberantly macho physical universe with a philosophical twist. For an evening of dance that sets out to ponder the human condition, it doesn’t get much richer than this.

Gary Clarke Company, COAL

Posted: May 9th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Performance | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Gary Clarke Company, COAL

Gary Clarke Company, COAL, The Place, April 15

Gary Clarke Company in COAL (photo: Joe Armitage)

Gary Clarke Company in COAL (photo: Joe Armitage)

“She defined and overcame the great challenges of her age…” – David Cameron in his tribute to Margaret Thatcher in the House of Commons, April 10, 2013

“Thatcherism…reeked the most heinous, social, economic and spiritual damage on this country…” – Glenda Jackson in the House of Commons, April 10, 2013

It is an uncanny coincidence that the 30th anniversary of the miners’ strike should occur at a time the current Conservative government is trying to dismantle another longstanding institution, the National Health Service. Gary Clarke’s COAL, commemorating the 1984/85 miners’ strike in choreographic form, comes as a salutary reminder of how politicians who capitalise on the self-aggrandizing belief they are ‘overcoming the challenges of (the) age’ can ruin the lives of entire communities. Clarke understands this firsthand, having been brought up in Grimethorpe, a mining town in South Yorkshire. ‘It’s deeply, deeply personal, and I just wanted to share how it felt to live through these times. How it felt then, and how it feels now as the pain, loss and division linger on in our stranded communities.’ It is memory that drives the work forward.

COAL is divided into three acts: the first is a slice of early-morning ritual in a single home that suggests the foundation of social life in a mining community. The wife (TC Howard) peels spuds in a bucket while the husband (Alistair Goldsmith) sleeps under a blanket; she is cook and feisty timekeeper, long-time lover and loyal supporter. Costume and set designer Ryan Dawson Laight takes delight in the details (Howard is reading a newspaper with the headline ‘Tory Cuts’) and Clarke fashions the spirit of comradeship in an earthy dance among the assembled miners (Goldsmith, Nicolas Vendange, James Finnemore, Joss Carter and Connor Quill) on their way to work. The second act is set underground (the pit cage and tunnels beautifully delineated in light by Charles Webber); it is a long section and full of tension. The qualities of their movement are a reflection of both the physical effort and their underground minds, a brutal existence spurred on by chalked targets, punctuated by bells and constantly threatened by hazards to limbs and lungs. It is perhaps the first time the opening movement of Beethoven’s 5th symphony has been used at the coalface and Daniel Thomas’ soundscape exaggerates the sense of pressure and confinement until we can’t take any more. Act three takes us up again into the air to the relative freedom of a social gathering, a chance to party and to relax, which is the moment Clarke introduces the figure of then prime minister Margaret Thatcher (Eleanor Perry with the voice of Steve Nallon). This is the dramatic fulcrum of the work, the moment that defines the beginning of the end. From the intimately complex social solidarity of the first two acts, Thatcher’s intervention turns the community into a toxic, socially divisive battleground with Perry prowling like a bird of prey on one side of a picket line that bears a chilling resemblance to a gallows rope.

Clarke maintains COAL is not a political work but the politics are inextricable from the story and he plays the political aspect directly to the audience. If Perry doesn’t get booed during a performance she feels she hasn’t wrung a sufficiently derisive charge from her role. This raises questions as to the exact nature of COAL. In choosing to interpret this story through the medium of dance — particularly using his five muscular, handsome dancers as interpreters — Clarke mixes a social and political polemic with a soft image; he has us bathe in the action until we are as helpless in the face of fate as the miners with whom he is siding. The form of COAL thus straddles the tragedy of a community and an epic story of resistance, but in pointing the finger at Thatcher we collectively miss the opportunity to challenge our readiness to fight such injustices in the future. As Ernst Fischer wrote in The Necessity of Art when discussing Berthold Brecht’s use of emotional detachment to appeal to audiences’ reason and critical action, ‘The work of art must grip the audience not through passive identification but through an appeal to reason which demands action and decision.’

What Clarke has achieved is an intimate, nostalgic memoir in which the material is still full of pain and anger. The work is rooted in the communities he is honouring: apart from the permanent cast of Perry, Howard and the five male dancers, the supporting characters come from local mining communities or have a relationship to them and he uses songs played by colliery bands from areas of the country in which he is performing. This close-knit network of performers strengthens the cohesion of the work, but it is the lack of artistic detachment that weakens the dramatic impact. It implodes rather than explodes, draws us in rather than spits us out on a path to change. It is designed to rouse the emotions of the audience — and is more or less successful depending on where it is performed — to reaffirm the sense of betrayal that continues today.

We want COAL to succeed because what it depicts is vital to an understanding of these blighted communities and of our collective history but it falls short primarily because of its desire to entertain. The reality was and is far worse than COAL can ever admit but commemoration can also be a call to action; the struggle for the survival of the NHS is history repeating itself.

Resolution! 2016, Drishti Dance, Bridget Lappin, Laura Obiols

Posted: February 18th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Performance | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Resolution! 2016, Drishti Dance, Bridget Lappin, Laura Obiols

Resolution! 2016, Drishti Dance, Bridget Lappin, Laura Obiols

Anuradha Chaturvedi of Drishti Dance (photo: Sarah Jex)

Anuradha Chaturvedi of Drishti Dance (photo: Sarah Jex)

This evening of Resolution! begins with an exposition of Kathak by Drishti Dance, a trio of choreographer Anuradha Chaturvedi and dancers Meena Anand and Shyam Patel. Antaraal is a work that weaves choreography with music and verse in which all three elements span two cultures: Chaturvedi is based in Reading but brings her knowledge and mastery of Kathak from Lucknow in India; the score is shared between Oxford-based Malcolm Atkins and Lucknow-based Ustad Gulshan Bharati, while the verse is from Mohan Rana, a Hindi poet living in Bath. Antaraal is thus a meditation on the diaspora life, rooted in tradition while adapting to a new cultural context, a place where ‘movement is caught between two worlds, one dead and the other yet to be born.’ To my Western eye, however, the elements of gesture, rhythm and costume in Antaraal speak of an unequivocal, and very much living, Indian experience, so it is difficult to know what is ‘dead’ and what is ‘yet to be born.’ Perhaps in placing Kathak in the service of both Eastern and Western musical rhythms Chaturvedi is suggesting a journey between the two, somewhere between departure and arrival. But what my memory retains are the floating, sinuous gestures of the three dancers, their poise, the clarity of their facial expressions and the rhythmical hand and footwork responding both intimately and animatedly to the music.

There we have stopped, while the world stands still,
and the endless days that were following us, too have stopped.
There we stand, meeting after a long time,
in a conversation that catches an unfinished past.
Having moved far, been lived, told, and retold
our story is now hand in hand with emptiness,
and we’re left
pondering an elusive end.

  • Mohan Rana (translation: Mohan Rana & Georgina Tate)

Dressed in layers of black against a black backdrop on a black floor seems a paradoxical way of establishing the art of exposure but Bridget Lappin relishes the challenge, bringing her bright gaze to the darkness around her in The Art of Exposure. There is no credit for lighting but the timeless beginning — a very gradual sensitizing of our eyes to Lappin’s still, shadowy, spectral form — and her mysterious disappearance at the end are beautifully staged. Camouflage is central to the work, and Lappin refers in her program note to a 17th-century Ninja manual on the art of concealment, Shoninki, but she spends the entire performance shedding her camouflage just enough to establish it, teasing us with her ability to materialize out of the dark and leave an indelible image. She does this by taking on the disguise of first a ninja, then, by replacing her warrior mask with a touch of lipstick, a woman and finally (as in Young Galaxy’s track) ‘just a body’ — what she describes as ‘deceptions in an act of self-preservation against her environment.’ Her movements are at once assured and mysteriously quiet, clear and off-balance, her gestures fast and complex. In the half-light the outlines of her body are erased so all we see of her is bare hands and face, or, in the final stage, her bare back inside the v-shaped opening of her unitard. It is the art of exposure by stealth and suggestion and it is remarkably persuasive.

The final work, Laura Obiols’ Hourglass, is ‘a journey with Lilly to explore growing up in a society full of expectations and fear of taking risks, where time seems to be chasing you.’ Obiols pulls together elements of biography like a magician conjuring rabbits out of a hat: the talking shoes and boots setting up the family story at the beginning (set design by Michelle Bristow), Lilly’s transformation from young girl to a young woman and the appearance of characters one after the other from behind a sofa. We first see Lilly in the person of Betty Toogood Sayers sitting long-legged on the floor writing in a diary while her father, James Finnemore, is (so we learn from the voiceover) going through a bad phase. Lilly is unaware of his anxt-ridden, gravity-laden solo and runs to be picked up on his shoulders. By sleight of hand she grows into Léa Tirabasso but then things start to get fuzzy. Michael James Gilbert is someone she picks up (or he picks her up) at a club but it is not clear for whom he is performing. Rosie Terry makes an appearance as a friend and then Kieran Page dressed like Terry replaces her from behind the sofa to offer Lilly his hand. The three men in Lilly’s life bear an uncanny resemblance to each other, which is confusing; they are distinguished more by their respective dance genres than by their characters. Only Tirabasso remains her growing or shrinking self, and there is a tantalizing moment after the four adult characters manipulate her like a spinning compass when I thought for sure she would dance a trembling apotheosis but she is interrupted and never gets to express herself in maturity.

It is an analogy for Hourglass itself; with the exception of the two underused musicians — Nuria Sobrino on piano and Charlie Stock on viola — the talents of her cast and the input of her production team appear to have turned Obiols in different directions: beside some lovely symbolism and imagination there are elements of over-literal storytelling and patchwork dance: building blocks but not yet architecture.

Hofesh Schechter dancers: In Good Company

Posted: July 5th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Performance | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Hofesh Schechter dancers: In Good Company

In Good Company: New works by the dancers of Hofesh Schechter Company. The Place, June 23 at 8pm.

Last of his Act: Yeji Kim

In the dim opening light we see just Yeji Kim’s back, at the same level as the lamp, higher than we expect. As the light enlarges, we notice she is clutched to Sita Ostheimer’s torso, her arms tight around Ostheimer’s neck. We hear an electronically manipulated voice emitting globs of sound so guttural as to be close to choking or vomiting. It is the first of many disturbing juxtapositions in Kim’s Last of His Act that seem to derive from a divorce of experience and wisdom as articulated in her program notes: ‘We, women, can express our mind differently from what we really have in mind.’ This separation is expressed in a series of contrasted episodes. After a brief blackout we see the two women lying centre stage, the strong sensuous curve of Ostheimer’s hip highlighted in front of Kim’s concealed form. They embrace and mould themselves to each other along the musical line of a distorted cello migrating to synthesizer: Apocalyptica to early Pink Floyd. Joel Harries’ sound comes in thick layers, wrapping the movement in an almost suffocating embrace from which Kim and Ostheimer emerge as light to the sound’s shade or as waves to the sound’s depths; it is the sound that seems to release them or hold them in place. A powerful bass pulse shakes them free of each other and we see a dance of two frenetic, isolated individuals, their hands wide open like a Rodin sculpture. The guttural globs resume as the two women return to the front of the stage, breathless from exertion. Lit from the floor, they look out at us in the silence, prompting applause, but the women stand their ground until an ominous knock at a massive door focuses our attention once again. We hear the door creaking open on to a section of more antagonistic images and sounds: Kim gently raises the hem of her dress, peering at her sex, to applause or perhaps it is heavy rain, then portentous booted steps. Ostheimer performs the same ritual examination, placing her hands over her womb to the sound of a dog barking and snarling: fragility over violence, courage over intimidation, life over death. We hear fragments of a song in which the words ‘pain’ and ‘strain’ are distinct in the increasing cacophony that drives Kim and Ostheimer to a frenzied state. Never quite out of control – they are both consummate dancers – they manage to draw their movements closer to the body, held in tight like a seething anger. Exhausted, Ostheimer lies down in submission; Kim remains standing close to her in the dying light, but gravity and the dwindling sound undermine her will and release her finally to the floor.  ‘Sometimes’, writes Kim, ‘the free will of women can give us distance through cynicism. Conversely, this will can make us feel empathy for others’ lives, mistakenly. We question ourselves if we know them or not’.

Lukewarm and loving it: Philip Hulford

A lampstand upstage left glows faintly, barely revealing Hannah Shepherd standing next to it. A translation from Matthew 6.22-23 is projected on the backdrop: Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder, your body will fill up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and dishonesty your body is a dank cellar. There is for me an uncomfortable distinction here between advertising an idea for a performance and evangelising. The title of the work is the subject of a sermon by Francis Chan, an American Christian pastor, equating lukewarm with lack of faith, and in his program acknowledgements, Hulford cites the example and teaching of Jesus. Because there is so much ‘message’ before the dance begins, one wonders what role the dance has. Perhaps Hulford should have considered the first verse of Matthew 6, in the same translation, that contains the admonition: Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding.

This is a rather long digression on a personal issue, but as Hulford has made it a primary element in his work, it asks to be addressed. The choreography juxtaposes the appropriately named and dreamy Shepherd, dressed blandly in jeans, a jacket and sneekers, against the dynamic duo of Frederic Despierre and Karima El Amrani, who quickly launch into a disco number fragmented by a strobe light, pushing their limits and swaying violently from side to side to a throbbing, high-decibel beat. Are they the squinty-eyed ones against Shepherd’s wide eyes, or are they the heat to Shepherd’s lukewarm? I tend towards the former interpretation, as Shepherd seems to develop confidence and conviction in the course of the work, culminating in a dynamic and assured solo to lyrics by Jars of Clay: The smile on the outside that never comes in…You break me open, turn on the light…Let the show begin. But if Shepherd develops, there is no corresponding growth for Despierre and El Amrani, which leaves the work rather one-sided and incomplete. Hence the ambiguity.

Like Hofesh Schechter, Hulford is a musician and has composed the score in collaboration with Joe Ashwin of the progressive death metal band, Stone Circle (Ashwin also plays guitar in the Hofesh Schechter band). What sounds like the electronically manipulated buzzing of a bee breaks the opening silence followed incongruously by a stubborn starter motor. A pounding, reverberating pulse underlies the first duet with Despierre and El Amrani, and Shepherd is given a quieter, more pensive treatment, though the general tone of this layered sound leaves little room for subtle expression.

No way but down: Sam Coren

A thunderous rumbling introduces the soundscape by Alberto Ruiz. We see a painting hanging in an artist’s studio, a view of sky and clouds. Perhaps it is the one source of light on this rather seedy, unhealthy interior, designed with particular attention by Kasper Hansen. We see a bicycle on a stand and then the figure of Igor Urzelai get up from bed still covered in bed clothes. He offloads them in a heap. By the look of his costume (Sophie Bellin Hansen must have had fun putting this together – and got it just right) we are not expecting a virtuoso dance. In fact there is no dance at all, unless the furious pedaling can be considered a pure form. No matter. Urzelai pedals to generate electricity to light the room, an introduction to the refreshing but dark sense of humour that pervades No way but down. Urzelai is part pirate, part vagabond. He sorts his collection of cassettes and selects rather prophetically The Handsome Family’s The Lost Soul. What an awful day, when the judgement comes. And sinners hear their eternal doom but the volume is too high for such a crappy machine (perhaps the only instance in the work where production values are divorced from the ‘reality’ of the stage). He sings along, using a bicycle pump as microphone, then breaks off to lay his makeshift table with a plastic sheet, and a large spoon. He selects a can of beans from the collection stacked against the back wall and on his way back to the table changes the ambience by putting on a recorded sound of a restaurant buzzing with activity: clinking plates, teaspoons and conversation. Tucking a newspaper under his chin as a bib, he opens the can and savours the contents. One might be forgiven for thinking of the last supper without the disciples. The spoon then takes on a life of its own: food sprays up, Urzelai’s anger erupts and he throws the can’s contents in his face. To calm down he searches for another recording: a reading (by Ben Coren, read by Jason Jacobs). Chapter two. Companionship. When you are feeling frustrated or irritable with your partner, just remember you are lucky to have each other…Inspired, he puts a waste bin inside the hood of a jacket to shape a partner and performs a grim thé dansant. More music maestro, please; but he has to pedal first to generate more electricity. He plays Graham Lindsey’s Deathtrip Blues. And soon I will be dead…another self-fulfilling choice. Urzelai shines a torch at his partner’s face, then places the light on the table and sits down for a tête à tête. Smoke suddenly appears from under the door on stage left. Urzelai lies his partner on the floor and rushes over to fan the smoke away, peeling off his outer garments (there are many) to stuff under the door. He returns to his act of creation by stuffing another waste bin in another hooded jacket (there’s a pile at the back) and introduces this second figure to the first, laying them side by side on the floor. He pauses, then thoughtfully places the sleeve of one over the torso of the other. Pleased with his work, he removes the clothing from under the door and sits inhaling the bellowing smoke: hope and the light are snuffed out together, leaving that patch of painted sky and clouds above his make-believe lovers.

I don’t know if Sam Coren has direct experience of this condition, but he has created a portrait of despair with a masterly dose of sympathy and understanding unadorned by morality. It is a movingly nuanced portrait by Urzelai, too, who is utterly convincing.

The Age: James Finnemore

A couple stands on stage in the dark. We hear a repeated phrase of three words, like dark age heart, on a score by Joel Harries, followed by a deep pulsing bass track – a common musical feature in the scores this evening. The couple is still, their faces indistinct, with their legs illuminated by a bank of lights on the floor behind them, until the overheads come up and we see their intent look. Victoria Hoyland steps back and Philip Hulford reverentially takes her hand, kneels, lets her sit on his knee, then gently takes her weight as he stands. They dance a ballroom waltz, in very small and faltering steps before disengaging, taking hands and looking out again into the audience as if posing for a photograph. Hoyland takes another position on all fours, and Hulford sits on her back. They repeat their movement sequences but more rapidly. She is now like a wind-up doll in waltz position, with arms in place for an absent partner, turning half turns continuously while Hulford walks to the centre and looks out intently once again. While Hoyland turns, Hulford dances powerfully and mysteriously in the blue light, quick and dynamic, almost manic – one of the most searing images of the evening. The music develops into a heartbeat and finishes. Hulford regains his breath and tries to express something, but he cannot speak. He is on the point of walking away from us but turns to face us in silence. Hoyland and Hulford seem unsure they should be here, as does the audience, who applauds, but it is not the end. Hulford is evidently in discomfort as he begins a dance of shell-shocked fatigue. A blackout and a new pulsing bass line plumb the depths of his being and he begins to jump in place, passing through another blackout to appear standing next to Hoyland with his hands behind his back, she with hands in front. They both walk over to the bank of floor lights that has started up again and to an upbeat, rhythmic march they dance the same elastic, powerful movements, descending deeply to the floor and rising up, accelerating and morphing into an energetic bunny hop from which Hulford disengages and walks one last time towards us with his intense gaze. The Age is a rather bleak work, but full of almost dream-like images, both still and moving, that Hoyland and Hulford so effectively portray.

Accompany: Sita Ostheimer and Christopher Evans

After visiting some of the more profound life states for much of the evening, it is a relief to bubble to the surface with Sita Ostheimer and Christopher Evans in their Accompany. The program note says simply that Sita and Chris are a couple. Onstage, they definitely are, in which case the description is redundant; so presumably it refers to their offstage status. Certainly there is a naturalness in their antics and banter, most of which is recorded. So here is a couple playing themselves with their recorded voices, performing the process of creating the work you are now seeing that finishes with its starting point like Escher’s famous hand drawing itself. It is refreshingly relaxed but its craft is not to be underestimated. We have already seen Ostheimer dance in the first piece, so it is good to see and hear her sense of fun. We see tantalizingly little dancing from Evans but what do you expect in a performance of unrealized expectations? There is no music either, as Ostheimer explains; just background sound, for which the program credits Charlie, Lawry and Ed. They have dressed the silence with layers of recorded voice, distorted voice, snatches of song and conversational snippets between Ostheimer and Evans that unify the conceptual nature of the work. There are songs listed in the credits – Damien Rice, Stephan Micus and Meret Becker – but they seem to have shared the fate of the African idea, the highway idea, the pulling-people-out-of-the-front-row idea and the speaker idea. The best idea is the idea of the work itself.

I recently attended a choreographic evening by Rambert Dance Company and it is interesting to compare the two. Both companies are giving opportunities for aspiring choreographers to hone their choreographic skills and gain experience in a performance setting with full production values. The differences arise from the nature of the two companies: Rambert has a varied repertoire by different choreographers, whereas Schechter is the sole creator, both of music and dance. Rambert has a policy for their choreographers of working with commissioned scores played live – for the most part – by an orchestra. Schechter’s dancers used three scores from two of the company’s own musicians, Joel Harries and Joe Ashwin, and there is a clear influence of the engulfing Schechtian sound on all five works. The works at Rambert were varied between narrative, abstract and psychological, whereas Schechter’s group was surprisingly narrowly focused on expressing (however well) the somber-bordering-on-depressing psychological states, notwithstanding the lighthearted bounce at the end. It would be interesting to see what the Schechter choreographers would do with an orchestral score, and what the Rambert dancers would do with a Joel Harries soundscape. Perhaps it is simply the natural process of young choreographers expressing the dominant influence of their respective companies, but I had the feeling that the young Rambert choreographers were creating in a more open environment than those in Schechter’s. What is important, however, is that these choreographic evenings continue to be supported, and that the choreographers who choose to develop their ideas will find their own voices.