Five years has been a long wait for the return of Rambert Dance Company, but those with the patience will have felt it was worth it.
This triple bill takes the audience from sorrow and loss through torture into humour and imagination. Mark Baldwin’s Eternal Light is a powerful piece reflecting a modern-day Requiem. With music by Howard Goodall sung by Birmingham’s Ex Cathedra, its melodies blend traditional motifs with poetry such as ‘Do not stand at my grave and weep’ and ‘In Flanders Fields’.
Pieces range from gentle solos to dramatic ensembles. The flared costumes are distracting and the addition of a toucan detracts, but this is evocative contemporary dance.
Second comes Swansong in which one dancer is a victim facing two torturers. The lack of context makes this Christopher Bruce piece potent and the contrast of humour and pain makes the ordeal darker.
Finally, Siobhan Davies provides light relief with Carnival of the Animals set to Saint-Saens’ music. Rather than go for obvious animal costumes, the cast are in suits and tail-coats yet take on the essence of the creature rather than the guise. Particularly beautiful are the swan, danced solo, and the aquarium.