Rain by Rosas / Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker at The Playhouse: Edinburgh International Festival Review


This is my year of dance.

NDT last week were colossal.  Border Tales by Protien Dance at Summerhall were colossal.  Guru Dudu’s Silent Disco Walking Tour was collosal.

This is colossal.

I am no modern dance expert but I know when I see something that has to be at the top of its genre.

For an hour we were serenaded by the quite beautiful Steve Reich’s Music for 18 musicians while 10 dancers (7 female, 3 male) execute a miracle of coordination in front of, and occasionally through, a circular steel mesh curtain.

Here’s what Tom Service has to say about Music for 18 Musicians in The Guardian.

Music for 18 Musicians creates a labyrinthine experience for the listener. You’re locked into the mesmerising way in which one pattern morphs into another, addicted to the groove and pulse of the music at the smallest scale of what’s happening from one note to the next.

At the same time, the music describes a bigger journey, as melodies and patterns recur over the scale of the whole piece. Reich builds up waves of density and complexity that crest at different points (listen out for Section V and Section IX especially), creating an experiential arc that does much more than repeat a sequence of chords and rhythms.

I honestly don’t know what it was about but it was transfixing.  The subtle costume changes throughout the show perhaps hinted at the changing of seasons.  It was almost unnoticeable because the palette is largely pale, but suddenly you realised the corps was now pink, now beige, now gold.  Beautiful.

And the choreography.  My God.

Reich’s piece is described above as labyrinthine and that’s what the dancing becomes with waves, flows, counterblows and pauses that result in sublime almost falling over moves (swoons) that never fail to make me swoon.

I don’t have the technical language to describe this but the experts acknowledge it as a masterpiece and I have to concur.

Steve Reich, for one, was thrilled by this.

5*****.  Bravo!

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