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Russell Maliphant Company

One Part II / Push / Transmission
Russell Maliphant

DEC. 7.8.9. 2006
Centre Pierre-Péladeau


“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.

“Yet there 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
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 focus.


“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.


February 2006

Photos Hugo Glendinning