Russell Maliphant Company
Part II / Push / Transmission
DEC. 7.8.9. 2006
“Superbly executed optical illusions
which allow us to feel that the dancers have transcended gravity
and are momentarily occupying a world with no constraints.” (Dance Theatre
Journal, Great Britain)
The Russell Maliphant Company is back in Montreal at the invitation of Danse Danse after delighting
Québec audiences the first time around. The company’s
performance at the Festival international de nouvelle danse in 2001
earned it the Prix du public. In its Danse Danse debut, the company
will present three pieces: One Part II,
a solo danced by Russell Maliphant himself, Push,
a haunting, sensual duet, and Transmission,
a work for five female dancers set to an incantatory soundscape
by British artist Múkúl.
First performed in 1998 then reworked in 2002 at
the request of Dance East in Great Britain, One Part II is Russell Maliphant’s latest solo, with music by J. S. Bach.
Push is an expressive duet balancing languor
and agitation that was first performed on September 30, 2005 by
internationally acclaimed ballerina Sylvie Guillem and choreographer
and dancer Russell Maliphant at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in
London. In November 2005, the piece has been remounted at the Festival
de danse de Cannes in France and it is this version that will be
presented on tour.
is nothing balletic about the edgy exchange of energy that keeps
the movement alive, dangerous and clamorously expressive.” (The Guardian Unlimited, Great Britain)
All-female quintet Transmission was first
performed in Cannes in November 2005 then went on to a European
tour. Produced with the support of the Arts Council England in London,
the piece was commissioned by the Festival de Danse in Cannes, Sadler’s
Wells Trust, Reggia Emilia Danse and The Place Theatre.
Russell Maliphant was born in Ottawa
in 1961 and grew up in Great Britain, where he graduated from the
Royal Ballet School. He danced for Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet
until 1988, when he became an independent dancer to widen his experience.
Gradually moving away from classical dance toward modern, he worked
with such independent, anticonformist choreographers as Lloyd Newson,
then director of the DV8 Physical Theatre. For the DV8, he staged
a production of Dead Dreams of Monochrome Men in which
he also acted. In common with the anticonformist choreographers
he has worked with, Russell Maliphant has a strong penchant for
improvisation. The experience of a dancer being at the centre of
the creative process was what spurred Maliphant to become a choreographer.
In 1991, he premiered his first two choreographies:
a solo, Evolving Paradigm, and a duet with dancer Scott
Clark. The following year, he was commissioned to choreograph the
quartet Relative Shift by the Ricochet Dance Company. The
choreographer has since created six pieces for his company and receives
regular commissions from other sources, among them the Ballet de
l’Opéra de Lyon, the Batsheva Ensemble, the Nuremberg
Ballet and Channel 4.
Russell Maliphant has developed his own signature
style of movement that draws on a mélange of influences:
classical dance, contact improvisation, capoeira, tai chi and yoga.
His classical training is still apparent in the chiselled perfection
of his poses and his sophisticated sense of rhythm. His compositions
also contain incredible emotional depth.
Another element intrinsic to his shows is Michael
Hulls’ sculptural lighting. Hulls, involved in every
piece since 1994, is a poet of form; he doesn’t just light
the stage, he reshapes the dancers’ physical appearances.
One moment he’ll transform them into bronze statues, another
he’ll dissolve their outlines in shimmering light. He also
manages to draw audience attention to the dancers’ internal
“If there is a touch
of genius it is partly due to lighting designer Michael Hulls who
has a gift for gilding, sculpting, polishing and bewitching dance
so that it seems to inhabit a world of infinite strangeness and
possibility.” (The Guardian
Unlimited, Great Britain)
Russell Maliphant chooses composers who can imbue
his work with atmosphere. Over the years, he has combined his energies
with artists including Andy Cowton, Richard English, Múkúl,
Sarah Sarhandi, Shirley Thompson, Matteo Fargian and Barry Adamson.
The power conjured by the interaction between music and imagery
won the company a Time Out Live Award in 2002 for Broken Fall,
a work set to music by Barry Adamson.
In 2003, Broken Fall garnered an Olivier
Award for Best New Dance Production. The following year, Russell
Maliphant was recognized with a South Bank Show Award for One
Part II, Two Times Three and Choice.
Russell Maliphant Company
Since it was founded in 1996, the Russell
Maliphant Company has been in constant development. The London-based
troupe, directed by Maliphant and lighting designer/associate artist
Michael Hulls, owes its international reputation to its unique style
of movement, a deft mélange of classical and modern dance,
contact improvisation, capoeira, yoga and taï chi, as well
as the intricate harmony between lighting, music and dance. The
company tours regularly in Europe and North America and was recently
declared the first Western company to perform in Uzbekistan.
Photos Hugo Glendinning