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what's On: Delight in the dance; Entertainment Editor GORDON BARR reviews Rambert Dance Company, at the Theatre Royal.

Byline: Entertainment Editor GORDON BARR

IN nearly two decades of theatre reviewing, seldom have I enjoyed a night of dance quite as much as this.

A couple of Matthew Bourne's works still rate as my personal favourites, but the trio of pieces being performed this week by Rambert Dance Company give them a run for their money.

Eternal Light, Hush and Carnival of the Animals are incredibly diverse, and each as enjoyable as the other.

Picture the scene, a full company of dancers on stage plus a wonderful choir and orchestra in the pit. That is what you are met with in Mark Baldwin's Eternal Light.

About 100 seats had to be removed to accommodate the pit, the only downside being 100 people each night will miss the chance to see these terrific works.

Eternal Light is a requiem piece involving 10 movements. Tees Valley Youth Choir give a wonderful performance, alongside soloists Tamsin Coombs and Adrian Powter.

Perhaps the only drawback is at times you find your eyes drawn to performances in the pit as opposed to the stage.

On stage, though, there is a mesmerising display of works to the backdrop of a subtle set. Everything seems to work beautifully, from the costume design to the music and the Latin mass translations.

Truly memorable, and perhaps the benchmark for other contemporary dance companies to work towards. I could have left the theatre quite happily with this alone, but Rambert conjured up two more delights to make the evening even more memorable.

Last night marked the UK revival premiere of choreographer Christopher Bruce's Hush.

The great man himself was there to witness the performance, and he must have left happy following the tumultuous cheers from the audience at the end. To music by Bobby Ferrin and Yo-Yo Ma, this is a joy to watch. The piece celebrates life and the clown-like music and costumes bring a frivolity and sheer happiness to the proceedings.

There are an array of lightning quick dance moves and set pieces. Absolutely terrific, and its goal of releasing the child in the adult certainly succeeds. The six dancers appear to be having a ball.

How do you top that, though? Well, Rambert gave us Carnival of the Animals to end the night. Choreographed by Siobhan Davies, it's like watching a David Attenborough documentary transformed into dance. Rambert are only at the Royal until tomorrow, be sure not to miss out on a treat.


MESMERISING MOVES - Eternal Light by the Rambert Dance Company; CHOREOGRAPHER - Christopher Bruce
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Mar 26, 2009
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