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Review of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker / Rosas & Ictus – Rain

Rain live 2016 Anne Van Aerschot
Rain live 2016 Anne Van Aerschot

Rain by Belgian choreographer, Anna Teresa De Keersmaeker, makes a welcome reappearance at Sadler’s Wells fifteen years after its world premiere in Brussels. Performed by Rosas, her dance company, with a new cast of three male and seven female performers it is as exquisite and nimble as ever.

Sadler’s Wells also opens its orchestra pit to the eighteen musicians of the superb Ictus Ensemble accompanying the work. The staccato live music in the room bringing vibrating sensation as well as the visual pleasure of the dance to the production. Huge glockenspiels are struck to great effect, along with piano, strings, and clarinet, creating a sound that sometimes sounds as if it has a voice running through it although there is no human singer.

The dancing is of patterns such as falling raindrops may find. Intense and clustered and dispersed and apart. Balletic movements are combined with contemporary dance. The dancers’ lifts and turns and jumps extraordinary in their grace. The agility and speed of the dancers a marvel.

The tone changes sufficiently in pace and colour during the seventy-minute performance, with a darkening as if a summer storm is passing through. The magnificent hoop of a set conceals and reveals with light and shadows, using the space both in front and behind its high strings of moving streamers.

The costumes by Dries Van Noten are notable.The three male dancers are dressed in warm weather, light coloured day wear. One female is in trousers too ( until the end) while the rest of the female cast, long hair tied back, wear fine slip dresses and the like. These transition in colour throughout into pleasing different tones of the inner pinks of a seashell, according to mood. The costumes are interesting in another way too, one that reflects the title of the piece. At first, you’re not too sure about the effect and then you understand.

It’s a happy piece, with energy being passed from one dancer to another and on, to their delighted audience until the show ends when the sun comes out.

4 stars

Review by Marian Kennedy

Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s world-renowned company Rosas returns as part of our contemporary classics series, with her iconic piece, Rain.

Known for her appreciation of mathematical structure and the geometric use of space, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker pushes these concepts to their limits to form a deceptively simple piece, using layers repetition and variation. Each of the ten dancers plays a distinct role in their close group, before giving in to the power of the collective with an exuberant and playful camaraderie.

Set to Steve Reich’s masterpiece, the minimalist Music for 18 Musicians, which is inspired by breath rhythms, the score is beautifully interpreted by Rosas’ long-term collaborator Ictus Ensemble.

Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker / Rosas & Ictus — Rain
Sadler’s Wells
Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R
13 & 14 June 2017


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