The place

Choreographers! Enough with the reworkings of Carmen and Frankenstein!

Carmen and Frankenstein are without a doubt two of the most over-worked tropes in our culture, the myths of the evasively seductive gypsy and the human monster machine being lazily recycled and plundered and vulgarised in various forms to the point at which their authentic primal power has been altogether deflated. So it was with a heavy sigh that I anticipated their two latest danced iterations. No surprises were likely, and none were delivered. It’s not bad, it’s just not good enough – yet another retread of familiar material The list of choreographers – Roland Petit, Alberto Alonso, John Cranko, Mats Ek, Antonio Gades, Matthew Bourne, Carlos Acosta – who

Lucid and lean: Metamorphoses, at the Theatre Royal Bath, reviewed

Literate, thoughtful and serious, Kim Brandstrup ranks as one of the most honest and honourable of contemporary choreographers. A proper grown-up, scorning bad-boy sensationalism or visual gimmickry, he compensates in solid consistent craft for whatever he may lack in striking originality, and the double bill he presented earlier this month as part of Deborah Warner’s season in the chapel-like Ustinov Studio behind Bath’s Theatre Royal is quietly and characteristically satisfying. Can we have a moratorium on the title of Metamorphoses? It’s become a tired cliché Its subject matter draws on that bottomless source, classical myth. First comes a version of an episode in the saga of Theseus, Ariadne and the

Stunts, gimmicks, tricks, hot air: snapshots from the edge of modern dance

This month I’ve been venturing into the further reaches of modern dance – obscure territory where I don’t feel particularly comfortable. In its hinterland is the Judson Church in New York: it was here, during the early 1960s, that young Turks such as Trisha Brown and Steve Paxton began investigating the idea that dance need not involve formalised gestures or what primary school teachers call ‘movement to music’, but could grow instead out of quotidian activities such as running, jumping and walking. From that point of departure, the journey has become ever more extreme and contorted, traversing the realms of performance art and installation, often politicised and sometimes pornographic. I

Zany and sensory-rich: Scottish Dance’s Amethyst/TuTuMucky at The Place reviewed

The Barcelona-born choreographer Joan Clevillé has form for off-beat storytelling with a streak of sincerity. Before becoming artistic director of Scottish Dance Theatre in 2019, he led his own dance theatre company, where even his wackier creations took their caprices seriously enough to get audiences on board. Clevillé’s new commission for SDT, Amethyst by Mele Broomes of Project X Dance, is sketched in similar shades. Zany and sensory-rich, this vortex of warbling voice work and zigzag dancing tallies up to something sleeker than its scrappy parts. The half-hour trio opens with Glenda Gheller on the mic, reciting a short speech about fragmentation — of stories, faces, perspectives, identities. ‘I feel