Italy’s leading contemporary dance company presents a contrasting double bill with both works choreographed by artistic director Mauro Bigonzetti. Les Noces, to a recording of the Stravinsky score, displays restrained movement and Cantata explores a wild spontaneity to traditional live music.
Opening with Les Noces, the 17 dancers line up on opposite sides of the stage, which is divided by a long table on which from time to time they dance. Costumed in stark monochrome with bleak lighting, they all are barefoot. The programme notes suggest that Les Noces looks at marriage and how matrimony can suffocate love, although this was not immediately manifest in the choreography, which had rigid shapes, was at times repetitive and did not rise to the greatness of the music nor the original 1923 Nijinska choreography.
French-trained Macha Daudel and Alexis Oliveira, a former dancer with English National Ballet, performed a duet which showed them to be fine dancers, as were Ashen Ataljanc and Walter Matteini.
The high spirited Cantata is far more successful. This is a southern Italian folk-inspired item with a live female quartet, Gruppo Musicale Assurd, singing and playing traditional songs with a tambourine and concertina. It has no real structure but the excellent dancers, full of Mediterranean energy, move in an improvisational abandoned way. They received numerous curtain calls and gave a short, free-moving, entertaining encore. Not a bad start for their first visit to Sadler’s Wells.