NARRATIVE DANCE THE MOTHER Pleasance at EICC, Edinburgh, Fri 21 & Sat 22 Dec

When it comes to blurring the line between acting and dancing, it would be hard to imagine a better dream team than the one behind The Mother. A former principal with the Bolshoi and Royal Ballet, Natalia Osipova is known worldwide for her strong characterisation. Contemporary dancer Jonathan Goddard has performed with Scottish Dance Theatre, Richard Alston Dance Company and Rambert, winning multiple awards including Outstanding Male Performance for his role as Dracula with Mark Bruce Company. Choreographer/director Arthur Pita moved from dancing with Matthew Bourne to creating his own, highly narrative works.

Osipova and Goddard have already worked on several projects

together, building an on-stage chemistry that will serve them well here. ‘I really enjoy dancing with her,’ says Goddard. ‘When you’re working with somebody who has that kind of dramatic ability it’s really exciting, because then it’s not just about technique, it goes to a different level.’ Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s tale The Story of the

Mother, this new production won’t be your average Christmas fare. ‘Arthur has got quite a dark imagination, and this is very much in his territory,’ says Goddard. ‘Natalia plays a mother whose child is very sick and Death comes to the door and takes the child away. She chases after them, and along the way meets various incarnations of Death some male, some female who ask her to do different things. And I play all those incarnations.’

Swapping genders and identities throughout the show, Goddard has his work cut out but will have a little help from his footwear. ‘I wear very high shoes for some of them,’ he says, ‘which completely changes the way you move. But there’s much more to it than that, the costumes definitely help but you find other ways to change your physicality.’ (Kelly Apter)


: J O H A N P E R S S O N

BALLET / CONTEMPORARY ESTONIA NOW Tramway, Glasgow, Tue 13 & Wed 14 Nov (contemporary), Fri 16 & Sat 17 Nov (ballet)

For audiences in Scotland, Eve Mutso is the former Scottish Ballet principal who brought elegance and drama to each role she danced. But to Estonian National Ballet, she’s a homecoming queen. Celebrating 100 years since Estonia first became an independent nation,

Estonia Now will capture two sides of the country’s dance output. The contemporary dance show will feature Sigrid Savi’s Imagine There’s A Fish, Mart Kangro’s Start. Based on a True Story and Karl Saks’ State and design. The ballet triple-bill will feature Time by Tiit Helimets (pictured), Silent Monologues by the company’s artistic director, Thomas Edur and Echo, choreographed by Mutso. ‘It’s a truly exciting prospect and a very emotional one too,’ says Mutso of her return to Scotland. ‘Estonia retains such an important role as part of my identity and Estonian National Ballet was the company I grew up admiring and wanting to dance with. To see them perform my choreography at Tramway in Glasgow feels very special like bringing parts of my different “homes” together.’ Mutso worked closely with the dancers during Echo’s creation, encouraging them to bring their own personalities into the piece. ‘I kept thinking about how individuality and commonality interact and exist together,’ she explains. ‘Ideas like leading and following, reacting, belonging, letting go and re-joining being similar in some ways and different in others.’ (Kelly Apter)

126 THE LIST 1 Nov 2018–31 Jan 2019

CONTEMPORARY DANCE RAMBERT: LIFE IS A DREAM Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Thu 22–Sat 24 Nov

It’s almost 40 years since Rambert performed a full-length narrative dance work. So when they set aside their staple diet of double and triple-bills to present one, you know it’s going to be for something special.

Choreographed by Olivier Award-winning Kim Brandstrup, Life is a Dream is a two-act re-imagining of Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s 17th-century play, in which a prince incarcerated since childhood is freed for one day. Such sudden exposure doesn’t go well enraged by all that he’s missed, he turns to violence and cruelty. ‘He is seized, put to sleep and returned to prison,’ explains Brandstrup, ‘and when he wakes up he thinks that everything he experienced was only a dream. So when he is pardoned and let out a second time, he approaches the world with caution and wonder, as if it were a dream that could evaporate at any time.’

Danish-born Brandstrup collaborated with innovative American filmmakers the Quay Brothers on Life is a Dream, who provided sets and projections. But it was the late Polish composer Witold Lutosławski and his turbulent score that gave Brandstrup his vision for the piece. ‘Black and white images of Polish actors rehearsing in dark and bare rehearsal

rooms kept coming to me,’ he recalls. ‘And so the piece opens at dusk in a derelict rehearsal room, where the director is drifting off to sleep. Images of that day’s rehearsals of Life is a Dream are revisited, recast and replayed.’ (Kelly Apter)