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Rain review at Sadler’s Wells, London – ‘exuberant and finely crafted’

Rain at Sadler's Wells, London. Photo: Anne Van Aerscho Rain at Sadler's Wells, London. Photo: Anne Van Aerscho
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Created in 2001, Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker’s Rain has become one of her signature works.

It’s set to Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians, a richly layered score that flows like cascading raindrops, and danced with an uplifting, exuberant energy. 10 dancers – seven woman and three men – clothed in soft neutral garments, move in spirals. Periodically they gather in groups or lines. There is a moment of stillness before their bodies tilt and they fall once more into a walk, a run or a burst of uninhibited movement.

With its linear yet lyrical movement style, De Keersmaeker’s choreography requires a precise technicality and, as the work builds in complexity, the company meet it with a surging energy. Rain may be a study in formation and patterning but it is as joyful and free-spirited as its music.

At over an hour, the perpetual motion of this work has the potential to become repetitive, but the gradual building of pace and content, from De Keersmaeker’s careful patterning to the changing colour palette of lights and costume, keeps the attention. It’s a finely tuned work, each detail set to perfectly complement Reich’s score.

Whether dancing in unison or passing by upon their own pathways a relaxed but tangible energy emanates from the dancers. In a relentless work, driven by Reich’s fluid score, this collective energy unites them.

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Exuberant and finely crafted staging of a signature work by Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker