When two such creative minds as Russell Maliphant and Michael Hulls meet, they are indeed an artistic match made in heaven. To celebrate two decades of highly successful collaboration Russell Maliphant created a show with something old, something new and a sneak preview of thing to come. Using generic theatre lighting, Michael Hulls conceals, reveals, defines and compliments the dancers and the stage. His light at times complements the dancing sequence and at times is the defining aesthetic and energy of the piece.
On this programme, Spiral Pass was created and presented by dancers from the Bayerisches Staatsbalett; Broken Fall is a piece initially devised for the dancer Sylvie Guillem and presented at the ROH in December 2003; ‹‹both, and›› is a brand new piece, a solo for Dana Fouras for her return to the stage after 10 years of absence; and finally Piece Number 43 is actually Maliphant’s and Hulls’ 43rd piece of work as a team.
As a tribute to their collaboration the performance lacked a uniform concept behind it, and at times it felt a bit slow and protracted, but that does not change the fact that it was still engaging and masterful. Not as transcending as Maliphant’s other performances but definitely engaging.
Spiral Pass is a tribute to classical male-female duets. The slender fragility of the female dancers in stark contrast to the male’s muscularity, lifted, spun and slithering under a shape-shifting, unreal light.
In ‹‹both, and›› Dana Fouras, behind a translucent front-cloth, dances with her shadow. Using just some floor lights Hull projects and occasionally multiplies Foura’s form in a piece exuding power, primal vigour and femininity.
Broken Fall and Piece Number 43 were performed by Malliphant’s Company. The first also a study into the male and female interaction. The second an intricate dance with the light; each dancer on a “tile” of light strikes dramatic poses and the choreography continues to become more complex as the tiles of light multiply on the stage floor, building up to a poignant finale with the sounds of Beethoven’s Moonlight sonata. A tranquil finale to a more electronic soundscape.
Despite my quibbles, I am definitely looking forward to what this brilliant partnership will come up with next.