Performing together for the first time ever, the national dance companies of Scotland, England and Wales have created a triple bill of new works celebrating Olympian efforts.
Run For It, Martin Lawrance’s big, physical celebration of athleticism for Scottish Ballet, is a suitable opener. Building on John Adams’ bright, rhythmical Son of Chamber Symphony, this speaks of winning and losing, of taking part and competition. But as it recalls various field events, it still has an inclusive air as its dancers take flight.
The parallel between dancer and athlete is underlined by Yumiko Takeshima’s wet-look, skin-tight costumes, enfolding the dancers’ upper bodies but cut to emphasise their lower-body muscularity. With the dancers teamed-up in varying shades of blue, Martin Boyce’s set - a Doric column leading up into a cloud of angular shapes - emphases the Olympic link to ancient Greece.
Christopher Bruce has taken a more literal path for the National Dance Company Wales’ Dream. From a 1940s coronation children’s sports day - concisely evoked by Bruce’s own costumes and design - the parents look on and dream of future Olympic glory.
A startling interjection by Camille Giraudeau brings those dreams to life, to the incessant crescendo of Ravel’s Balero. Costumes are shed, while egg-and-spoon and sack races transform into representations of the various Olympic sports. There is a wry inclusion of ice dancing and a momentary, tongue-in-cheek representation of the Olympic rings.
Something solid is needed to bring the evening together, but Itzik Galili fails to find such relevance in And the Earth Shall Bear Again. This is inspired by John Cage’s works for prepared piano. Big and flash, choreographing brutal spine-twisting new moves on a 24-strong cast, and boasting sensuous lighting design by Yaron Abulafia, this lacks coherence with the previous works - and its technical prowess is undone by untidy performance.