Rambert delves into the world of dreams

Leading contemporary dance company Rambert returns to Norwich on September 27 and 28 where the Theatre Royal will host the premiere of its new UK tour featuring a full-length lavish new production delving into the world of dreams.

A beautiful, contemporary interpretation of a 17th century classic play, Life is a Dream by renowned choreographer Kim Brandstrup is the first full-length narrative piece the company has presented in 38 years and it tells a story of alienation, vengeance, tenderness and redemption.

LIFE IS A DREAM by Brandstrup, , Choreography – Kim Brandstrup, Rambert Ballet, Sadlers Wells Theatre, London, 2018, Credit: Johan Persson

Olivier Award-winning Kim Brandstrup’s previous work for Rambert, Transfigured Night, which was performed for Norwich Theatre Royal audiences in 2016, won the 2016 National Dance Award for best modern choreography – and this latest work from him has a similar feel.

Life is a Dream is inspired by Spanish playwright and poet Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s philosophical allegorical tale of the same name which questions the human condition and mystery of life. It tells of an imprisoned Polish prince, incarcerated since his birth because of his father’s dreams. When he is released, he creates havoc by greedily trying to grab everything he has missed out on and he messes up his opportunity. Put back into prison, he is told everything was a dream. Then when he is freed again, he approaches his life in a different way with a manner of awe and wonderment.

These are the threads that fed the choreographer’s imagination as he began to create his full-length piece. It features dramatic, lyrical movement from Rambert’s brilliant ensemble dancing as duets and in groups as they represent different character attributes; design and imagery from legendary film-makers the Quay Brothers who have created a dream-like experience; and costumes by film, theatre and dance costumer designer Holly Waddington.

The Rambert orchestra will be playing the rich music of Polish composer Witold Lutosławski live – a rare treat for classical music fans but also highly accessible – to create a wall of sound which includes the folk-inspired Dance Preludes, Musique Funèbre written in memory of Bartok, and Chain II, a thrilling violin concerto.

LIFE IS A DREAM by Brandstrup, , Choreography – Kim Brandstrup, Rambert Ballet, Sadlers Wells Theatre, London, 2018, Credit: Johan Persson

Kim Brandstrup said: “Calderón’s play has for a long time been a personal dream of mine. Though written nearly 400 years ago, it is remarkably contemporary and resonates strongly in a world where the lines between reality and fantasy are increasingly blurred. Re-thinking the play to create a full-length narrative dance piece for contemporary dancers in a modern context will, I hope, make its profound insight resonate with a new audience. Rambert is the perfect company to take on the scope and ambition of this idea and I am both excited and honoured to be able to create this piece with them.”