Original and ambitious dance

A scene from Rooster by Christopher Bruce and Rambert Dance Company
A scene from Rooster by Christopher Bruce and Rambert Dance Company

Rambert returns to Brighton Theatre Royal from Wednesday-Saturday, March 25-28, with a line-up of new work and classic pieces from some of the most inventive and celebrated dance-makers around.

The programme includes the return of Christopher Bruce’s Rooster, an ambitious new work from Alexander Whitley and company artistic director Mark Baldwin’s The Strange Charm of Mother Nature, inspired by the science of the cosmos.

Mark has been in charge since the end of 2002 – years which have simply flown by.

“Working in an arts institution, everything is always either up or down,” Mark laughs. “It’s all either brilliant or turning to (rubbish), and when you are always negotiating that, I guess time just slips past!

“But it has been a good 13 years. There is the fact of our new building, and now we can move the focus onto how to use that new building. We have been there a year, and I think the dance is bigger now that we have got the bigger space. They have to be faster and to dance harder than they did before now we have got that bigger space to work in, and we have got new dancers coming in.

“Brighton is a smaller space for us, but if we do the right thing, it can be a very pretty theatre for us and everything can look like diamonds!”

A smash hit in Brighton in 2014, back by popular demand, Rooster is a celebration of the swinging ’60s set to music by the Rolling Stones. A series of courtship dances performed by sharp-suited, snake-hipped men and strong, sassy women are accompanied by some of the Stones’ most famous tunes, including ‘Not Fade Away’, ‘Paint It Black’, ‘As Tears Go By’, ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ and ‘Little Red Rooster’.

The piece was created by former Rambert artistic director Christopher Bruce in 1991 and is a firmly established modern classic.

Also on the bill is a new work from innovative choreographer Alexander Whitley, which lays bare the process of making a dance performance.

“Alexander is the young hot choreographer on the block, and I think what he does is really stunning. It is very rhythmic. It is fabulous and very surprising.”

Some 12 performers assemble and disassemble set, move lighting and change angles, constantly creating new spaces and playing with what’s revealed and what’s hidden of their sequences of virtuosic, highly-technical dancing. A thought-provoking work, it was designed to make audiences look at dance in new ways, a continuation of Whitley’s collaboration with visual artists Tuur Van Balen and Revital Cohen.

The work will be accompanied by a new score from Icelandic composer Daniel Bjarnason.

Completing the programme is Mark’s own The Strange Charm of Mother Nature, which premiered in September 2014.

The work is inspired by particle physics and the recent discovery of the Higgs boson ‘God Particle’, continuing Mark’s fascination with science, which has seen previous pieces inspired by the theories of Einstein and Darwin. The Strange Charm of Mother Nature sees dancers fizz with the energy of the minuscule building blocks that created life, the universe and everything to a musical score of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No 3, Stravinsky’s Dumbarton Oaks and a new piece by Cheryl Frances-Hoad.

As Mark explains the music effectively goes back through time: “Stravinsky took the Bach and turned it into something else; Frances-Hoad did the same. The whole piece is about coming up with ways of moving that might symbolise endless reinvention of the same particles. Everything is made of the same stuff, but endless variations of the same stuff.”

Tickets on 0844 871 7650.