Rosas & Ictus: Drumming at Sadler’s Wells
Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s company Rosas brings their performance of Drumming to Sadler’s Wells as part of the Sadler’s Sampled event. This is a new annual “taster menu” of dance performances designed to attract a wider audience, showcasing some remarkable choreographic work for low-ticket prices.
Ictus, the musicians, play a series of percussive instruments with precision to bring Drumming, by influential composer Steve Reich, to life. The musicians are visible to the audience and travel the width of the stage during the hour-long piece. Beginning with the bongos, one solo percussionist begins the first motif of beats, which repeats and builds throughout. The music is rhythmic and tribal, building from a single bongo before growing the same motif onto marimbas and glockenspiels. There is also the addition of a whistle, bell and two female vocalists. The result is astounding.
The dancers of Rosas mirror the beats of the music, beginning with a soloist. As the music progresses, more dancers are introduced until twelve dance, almost non-stop, for the duration of the piece. De Keersmaeker’s choreography enhances the music: the repetitive phrases spark individuality and moments later, unity, as the company dance as one. The movement is textured and layered to compliment the music, it feels unpredictable and at the same time together.
Drumming is a sensory overload, a whirlwind of sound and movement. The stamina of the twelve dancers is unbelievable at times. They weave between each other energetically and seamlessly. The strength of the piece lies within the connectivity of the dancers. At first seemingly separate, but as the piece develops and takes shape, each movement compliments and combines with the next so that the result is nothing short of explosive.
The final ten minutes are particularly astonishing and as the lights black out, and the music abruptly stops, the applause is deafening. The audience catches their breath and tries to comprehend what they have just witnessed. Drumming is a unique and potent piece of dance, exemplifying everything wonderful about the contemporary discipline. An hour passes by all too quickly as Drumming draws you in and demands your full attention. For those who have never experienced the power of dance and indeed those who have, miss this at your peril.
Rosas & Ictus – Drumming is at Sadler’s Wells Theatre until 26th June 2013. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.
Watch a preview of Drumming here: