Welcome to Jordan Lian, MPhil student at Oxford University, writing for Oxford Dance Writers for the first time. Jordan is studying the ballet history of the Slavonic region, and his current MPhil thesis is on Nijinska’s choreographic leadership of the Polish National Ballet 1937-1938. Here he reviews the recent triple bill by Rambert performed at Sadler’s Wells.

Friday’s Rambert performance started on a high note as Imre and Marne van Opstals’ Eye Candy, reflecting on the pains and pleasures of inhabiting the human body and originally premiered online in July 2021, generated an electric buzz. The piece opens with a dancer who drags out a mysterious package—a tranquil female body. Yet she comes alive as her peers onstage manipulate her joints and limbs to stretch, contort, and fold her corpus. In this sequence, the van Opstals challenge us to think of the degree of free will we possess in our own bodies; we watch as the puppet’s body is moulded by many hands until she moves autonomously. The choreography comprises mechanistic movements as the dancers jab, hammer, and drill gesturally, yet these high-frequency movements betray a lack of control despite the tension held in the dancers’ bodies. 

(more…)