Interplay of light and dark essential to Russell Maliphant’s dance

Alan Owens


Alan Owens

Spectacular interplay of light and dance: Carys Staton and Adam Kirkham in Russell Maliphant's Still Current, which is coming to the Lime Tree next Tuesday night
COLLABORATION is central to Russell Maliphant’s work - light, sound and dance all flowing in harmony together.

COLLABORATION is central to Russell Maliphant’s work - light, sound and dance all flowing in harmony together.

The renowned choreographer brings his company to Limerick for an evening of new work, Still Current, produced by Sadler’s Wells London’s Dance House in association with City of Culture and the Lime Tree Theatre.

Sadler’s Wells - with whom Maliphant is an associate artist - are among the world’s best known dance companies, and the choreographer and dancer is internationally acclaimed for his own work with the company, as well as that of his ensemble and work with the English National Ballet, among others.

In his latest piece, Maliphant has created a series of duets, trios and solos, interspersed with the work of his long time collaborator, lighting designer Michael Hulls.

The dynamic evening of stunning new work sits alongside the Olivier Award-nominated Afterlight (Part One) and the dazzling solo Two.

Maliphant set up his own ensemble in 1996 in order to allow him that freedom of expression - to incorporate lighting into the early stages of his choreography.

“I wanted a kind of method whereby I could create a process that would be different to a lot of the processes that were going on in other companies,” says Russell. “I wanted one where we could start with lighting design possibly, or at least have it at the beginning.

“We have both been making work for a long time, so we have been discovering things together for 20 years.

“We have had many different processes - we have probably made 35 pieces together, so we have had the opportunity to begin with light and then start to explore movement in that, which informs the movement language and vocabulary.”

In this case the language is diverse; the popping style of Dickson Mbi, the capoeira-inluenced style of Thomasin Gülgeç, a range of working styles by dancer Carys Staton - with musical compositions from fellow long time Maliphant collaborators Eric Satie, Andy Cowton and new music by Armand Amar.

Maliphant himself is famed for incorporating and fusing different styles of dance, travelling the world to add to his diverse range of styles.

“I have a curiosity for movement language and I want to be continually able to explore all those different elements and qualities. That is a daily practice and something that I enjoy. I like working with different types of dance - which I can with my company.

“I learn different things and I find that an interesting experience. I like to have a variety of inputs in that respect.”

Still Current promises to be truly spectacular and securing the show represents a coup for the Lime Tree, backed by City of Culture - without which this show would simply not be coming to Limerick.

Maliphant, who has worked with classical stars the world over, such as Sylvie Guillem as recently as 2005, says he hopes the show “is entertaining - as much as it is interesting”.

“I think you will see very different qualities in each of the dancers, but we work on creating a common language in the company as well, that is what we are trying to do, integrating,” he says.

Still Current is in the Lime Tree next Tuesday, May 27 at 8pm.