Since Tamara Rojo’s reign as Artistic Director, one of the biggest impacts she has made is providing a platform to the company’s emerging talent and this year’s Choreographics was full of original and dynamic displays that will linger in the mind for long time afterwards.
The evening comprised of six new works based on this year’s theme of post-war America. Four of the choreographers feature in the ENB company, and this year for the first time two dance artists from outside of it were invited to take part, Renato Paroni de Castro and Morgann Runacre-Temple. The youth, certainly of ENBs choreographers here leaves one in now doubt of the extreme talent possessed even in the lower ranks of the company and what the future holds.
De Castro’s piece, Memory of What Could Have Been is perhaps the most powerful and emotive of the first act and tells the story of a young girl who dates two brothers (and danced by real life brothers too) from the US Navy and marries one of them just before they go off to the pacific war. Sarah Kundi is flawless as the soon-to-be widow, she is skittish and youthful as she floats effortlessly around the stage during her courtship with the two Navy brothers. Kundi has beautifully expressive arms and uses her whole body brilliantly to convey her turmoil as the piece unfolds. Brothers Vitor and Guilherme Menezes possess the necessary synchronicity one would expect of twins, bringing the story to life even more so. Both are steady partners to Kundi in the more complicated drags and jumps and are convincingly sobering in the final moments of the piece making for poignant viewing.
A similarly affecting piece came from First Soloist Fabian Reimair, traumA tells the story of a grieving widow who is haunted by her husband’s image as they finally share one last dance. The piece is preceded by a short video in which Reimair explains he wanted to clearly portray the image of soldiers falling. This is starkly and unforgivingly shown as we see soldiers, their faces framed starkly by white light before they gradually fall out of the spotlights. The haunting scenes are as menacing as promised, but the portrayal of this couple coming together for one last dance is the highlight of this work. Anjuli Hudson and Ken Saruhashi are fluid and smooth in their movements as they are accompanied by the soothing piano of Hauschka’s Craco. An utterly beautiful and moving watch, it’s over too soon.
Perhaps a criticism, although not a strong one as a lover of the occasionally morbid, was that the theme of post-war America made for a lot of pieces centred on loss and grief. The choice made for powerful choreography, but some might argue the evening felt a little draining by the end.
Max Westwell’s Factured Memory was enjoyable, although I felt the storytelling was a little vague at times, however the spectacular pas de deux’s from Lauretta Summerscales, Daniele Silingardi and the rest of the cast more than compensated for the work’s few shortfalls.
Completing the evening was Stina Quagabeur’s original and memorable A Room in New York, a story of a love-hate relationship between a husband and wife who eventually drive each other mad. The piece is danced with total commitment by James Forbat and Crystal Costa. The choreography is relentlessly energetic and physical and the two pant furiously across the stage as the tension becomes unbearable. Both are simultaneously subtle and obvious with movements small and large in his multi-layered choreography that draws you in from start to finish.
First published on LondonTheatre1.com