It is Javier De Frutos’s willingness to take risks that makes him one of the more likeable of today’s contemporary choreographers.
De Frutos gave us a brutal and seductive piece of choreography.
His ‘Elysian Fields’, with Rambert Dance Company, gave it’s world premiere at Sadler’s Wells, taking its title from the New Orleans based 1947 novel by Tennesse Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire – who once said “dance was perhaps the last destination where poetry could find a homeland”.
The set consists of huge, infant chairs placed in a circle allowing dancers to take center stage within it. Its chief aim, to distill the play’s headiness, and here it succeeds.
There is a suitably brutish energy to the choreographic interplay between Jonathan Goddard’s snake-hipped Stanley and the various other characters vying for his feral affection, which he especially embraces. Reeking of steamy sexual abandon and despair there was a genuine edge to it. Angela Towler’s performance was exciting, intoxicating and very emotional and at times bewitching.
At the opposite end of the scale was Mark Baldwin’s tribute to childhood – Seven for a Secret, Never to be Told.
Given the conspiratorial title, I was not expecting a rose-tinted world set under a weeping willow. For this piece I inhabited a world of skipping and jumping, pillow-fights and doll’s picnics.
The 10 fabulous dancers were expressive and beautiful. Antoinette Dayrit lighter-than-air marvel as the lead girl, and Mbulelo Ndabeni’s fearless, expansive jumps charmingly conveys the boundless energy of youth, giving us a sense of it being easier to run than to walk.
Words by Norah Nona