Star columnists run through what’s impressed them this year
AS WINTER approached, anticipation rose to fever pitch as two of the country’s most exciting choreographers were, coincidentally, set to deliver new works in the same season — giving the impression of a head-to-head between rival forces in dance.
While Wayne McGregor’s Multiverse drew an intricate interface of mathematical counterpoints between abstraction and pinpoint exactitude from dancers Steven McRae and Paul Kay of the Royal Ballet, Akram Kahn’s Giselle provided an exquisite contrast by way of framing expression and gesture within emotionally charged, allegorical dance motifs.
Multiverse hit the mark as transcendental experience to a soundscape by Steve Reich at the Royal Opera House, while Khan’s Giselle at Sadler’s Wells, with a memorable new score from Vincenzo Lamagna, sent the heart pounding. There was a devastating performance of technique and strength from Tamara Rojo — this year’s wow-factor.
McGregor’s Multiverse was accompanied by previous works Carbon Life and Chroma, with the latter standing out as a great and special work, while Khan’s Giselle, with dancers from the English National Ballet, confirmed the brilliance of a choreographer whose resolve is to structure ambitious work on a grand scale.
Earlier in the year Khan’s own company performed Kaash at Sadler’s Wells, which propelled Alleyne sisters, Kristina and Sade, into the heights as this year’s most explosive new dancers.
Something special came by way of Michael Clark’s intoxicating new work to a simple, rock’n’roll song at the Barbican, which galvanised the choreographer’s and dancers Oxana Panchenko and Melissa Hetherington’s capacity to thrill and offer a peerless level of experimentation.
The brilliance of home-grown British choreography aside, the most emotional dance performance came in the spring with Tanztheater Wuppertal’s Like Moss On a Stone at Sadler’s Wells, a quintessential expression of intelligent, rapid-fire physical theatre combined with dance — an affirmation of the work pioneered by the late, great Pina Bausch if ever there was one.