Rambert’s Ghost dance at Saddler’s Wells Theatre

It really is a fault of mine, and something I have been trying to rectify over the years – especially living in a vibrant, active, artistic city such as London.

I do not get out enough.

Exhibitions, dance, theatre, music…even with the influx of big money, the threat of brexit and the exodus of artists, London remains a vibrant and exciting city.

Whether large scale mainstream or small, underground and alternative, there is stuff to keep you busy and inspired seven days a week.

If you can be bothered to find it.

Or, to put it slightly less harshly, if you can find the time or the money to go out.

So having decided (once again) to try and rectify this so called fault of mine – and under the muse-like and extremely positive influence Carla has on me – we went to see Rambert‘s Ghost dance at Saddler’s Wells Theatre the last night.
What a night.

It began with a Q&A with Mark Baldwin, the artistic director to the Rambert dance company (well, to be fair, it begun with us trying not to get too wet on the walk from Angel tube to the theatre)…(actually the day began with a wonderful days filming on Aled JonesITV weekend with music performances by Sound of the Sirens and Sarah Darling and an interview with the legendary Englebert Humperdinck, but that is a story for another day). Mark Baldwin was entertaining and informative – neither of us knew much about the piece we were going to see and it was wonderful to realise there was a strong Latin American connection to the evening’s performances.

This isn’t meant to be a review – I’m not an expert in dance and I don’t want to try and critique such a magical night…plus the performance is only on for a few days and they are, I think sold out.

but…very briefly…

The three pieces begun with the wonderful The 3 Dancers by Didy Veldman, inspired by the tale of passion and betrayal behind one of Picasso’s greatest paintings. The rondo, loop like repetition of the opening was absolutely sublime. It reminded me so much of the type of music I used to enjoy writing, back in the day, with the dancers repeating their routines round and round, sucking the viewer into a gorgeous trance. About half way through it morphed into a more traditional modern dance, which was also fantastic but, to me, not as inspiring.

The second piece – The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses – was a new work by Aletta Collins to Arturo Márquez’s pulsating Danzones and was also stunning, this time in the simplicity of the set design and lighting. Again the performances and music were beautiful, witty and lively. And while I thoroughly enjoyed it there was a vague sensation that everyone – including the dancers – had their minds on what was coming up…

Rambert’s Ghost Dance.


The technique and quality of the dancing was outstanding – the performers had obviously taken it up a notch for the title piece, understandably. Apart from a brief (comedic) moment when my mind had an unwanted flash back to watching the terrible Brigadoon as a child, with the dark, moor like set and the strong hint of folk music and dance, I was totally captivated. The knowledge of the history and politics of the piece I had picked up during the Q&A played a huge part in my appreciation of the narrative, but even so, as a standalone piece of dance it was enchanting. The pace was perfect, as was the length.

But more than that, above all of this immediate beauty were the seeds the night’s events planted within me. The seeds that contributed to the ecosystem of ideas and thoughts and inspirations that live and grow inside me – rain forests, deserts, mountains, seas of possibilities and gems of ideas that may or may not one day come to fruition. It is so easy to sit back and rely on what is already inside. There is enough there, a lush vibrant eco system, to last me several lifetimes, but you never know what will die off, what will replace it and what will flourish.

As far as I am concerned it is vital that this internal eco system remains active and healthy, and this will only happen if I keep the waters flowing, always adding to this universe within me. Even if all I ever do is produce more images for ‘West of the Sun’, there is no doubt that they will only ever benefit from being fed new, external influences, be they from music, dance, theatre or nature itself.

Always growing, always changing, like nature – I need to keep reminding myself to cultivate my soul, even if London does not always make it easy to do so.

London, after all, may not be in my life forever.

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