The Los Angeles based contemporary dance troupe is renowned dancer and choreographer Benjamin Millepied’s precious creation, founded in 2012 before what turned out to be his brief and tempestuous tenure as Director at the Paris Opera Ballet.
Millepied’s conviction that the company should be a collective - not one person’s vision - means audiences are guaranteed highly-polished performances by inspired individuals whenever the group creates new work or revives seminal collaborations from influential dance makers.
The shiny new programme, the second London appearance after their 2013 debut, features both a world premiere and a UK premiere from Millepied’s Gems Trilogy, rounded off with a thought-provoking piece choreographed by Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui.
Following in the tradition of George Balanchine’s Jewels (a three-part abstract ballet motivated by the legendary choreographer’s strolls past the Van Cleef & Arpels jewellery store’s windows on New York’s Fifth Avenue in the 1960s), Millepied’s Gems Trilogy is scattered through with patterns, carefully cut structures and perfectly orchestrated entrances and exits.
The trilogy’s first part Reflections, adapted by Millepied himself into a dance film, was devised in 2013 and corresponds to Balanchine’s Rubies. This programme gives us the UK premiere of the second gemstone in the series (diamonds) - the rather enchanting Hearts & Arrows.
Hearts & Arrows, set to the music of Philip Glass, refers to a method used by gemologists to assess the reflecting qualities of a diamond – hearts and arrows are the shapes that light creates within the stone.
Different facets of the performers and the dance are accentuated through the refinement of light and shade in Hearts & Arrows. Eight dancers are bathed in a luminous glow on a bare stage and move through numerous patterns like interconnected prisms, emulating a succession of diamonds.
The final instalment in the Gems Trilogy is Millepied's On the Other Side, here getting its world premiere. It is again set to Philip Glass, which perhaps delivers a too-repetitive tone. But Millepied's choreography is markedly modern, and his troupe utterly committed to their performance.
Finally, award-winning choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s Harbor Me is a tour de force trio. Embodying the elements of fire, water and air, the dancers unite and disperse like a human kaleidoscope.
By exploring relationships that influence, transform or smother, Cherkaoui asks whether we can shelter fellow human beings – or are we instead metaphorically destroying one another.
The programme throws Cherkaoui's more idiosyncratic voice into relief, complimenting Millepied's more diffident work. On film or on stage, LA Dance Project have certainly shown themselves worth watching.
|What||Mixed Bill: LA Dance Project, Sadler's Wells|
|Where||Sadler's Wells, Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R 4TN | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Angel (underground)|
24 Jun 16 – 25 Jun 16, 19:30
|Website||Click here to book via Sadler's Wells|