Compiled by Stuart Sweeney
In this time of self isolation and closed theatres, dance enjoyment can still be obtained online. Here are some examples from modern / contemporary dance:
The Green Table by Kurt Jooss
This remarkable 37 minute anti-war work from 1932 remains one of my favourites and is still performed around the world. We owe a great debt to Joffrey Ballet for inviting Jooss in his twilight years to set the work on the Company and to notate this and two other works by Jooss for posterity. As wars, refugees and exploitation remain live issues, The Green Table remains as relevant as ever.
Rooster by Christopher Bruce
Set to iconic songs by The Rolling Stones. One of the most popular modern dance works around. I remember Rambert Dance Company telling me that they had to ration theatres, who wanted it at every visit, otherwise the dancers would revolt. My most recent experience was with Acosta Danza with Carlos playing the Rooster.
Bruce created Rooster for Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève who we see in this performance. I don’t know if this is the original cast, but the Rooster opening the show is the best I have seen.
Smashed by Gandini Juggling
Gandini have built up a strong reputation combining juggling, dance and humour to make popular and intriguing shows. The opening minutes look interesting for this show from 2010 and The Guardian comments:
At first sight they could be Pina Bausch’s dancers: a procession of performers wearing smart suits and enigmatic smiles, gliding across a stage filled with apples. Bausch’s company memorably balanced apples on their heads in Palermo Palermo, but as Smashed is created by those juggling supremos Gandini, the fruit is mostly in motion here. Their Bausch homage has the same childlike games, adult fantasy and bruised humour of the German choreographer’s work. Smashed is crisp, fresh and full of flavour. You may never look at an apple in the same way again …
5 Soldiers by Rosie Kay
This award winning work made an impact as it toured the UK. Rather than an anti-war piece it strives to show the impact of training and conflict on the soldiers. From the Rosie Kay Dance Company website:
5 SOLDIERS is a moving, dramatic and unique work that looks at how the human body remains essential to war, even in the 21st century.
A visceral ‘tour de force’ of the senses, 5 SOLDIERS provides an intimate view of the training that prepares soldiers for the sheer physicality of combat, for the possibility of injury, and the impact conflict has on the bodies and minds of everyone it reaches. The piece has a powerful physicality, moments of humour and is full of honesty, all inspired by input from serving and former soldiers.