Have you ever wondered whether professional dancers in leading companies have a voice of their own? Rambert's Evening of New Choreography shows that they do indeed. Dancers from Rambert showcased their own choreography at the Lilian Baylis Studio on 17th and 18th December 2013. The evening highlighted a wide range of work by Malgorzata Dzierzon, Dane Hurst, Estela Merlos, Mbulelo Ndabeni and Patricia Okenwa, with the accompaniment of the Rambert Orchestra. The pieces were the first works created in the company's new South Bank home and were devised under the guidance of mentors Lu Kemp, Kerry Nicholls and Peggy Olislaegers.

Rambert dancers' new choreography © Rambert
Rambert dancers' new choreography
© Rambert

The first piece of the evening, titled Yimani by South African choreographer Mbulelo Ndabeni, united dance and music harmoniously. Yimani, which means "to stand strong and wait", is a piece commenting on the voiceless women who suffered under apartheid. The five female bodies on stage generated a feeling of sisterhood, which transcended racial barriers beautifully. The piece had African dance elements, like frisky torso rolls, which were pronounced by heavy drum beats. The work as a whole created a sense of solidarity but also left room for each woman to have a personality. The piece exemplified the choreographer's ability to craft narratives that combine cultural dance elements with a Western Contemporary palate.

Another favorite was Spaniard Estela Merlos' Entre tu y yo. The choreographic study analyzed the human psyche, specifically the workings of the ego. A brilliant piece and a highlight of the evening! The permeability of ego boundaries was brought to life through dancing. The choreography was astute, clean, edgy and also wonderfully danced, Hannah Rudd's performance especially showed much conviction. The use of a mirror, manipulated onstage by the dancers, was well thought-out, exploring the concept of the self who is in constant battle with its reflection.

Solo, choreographed by Patricia Okenwa, showcased young dancer Antonette Dayrit. The choreographer gave Dayrit a platform on which to uncover what happens when the body is pushed to extremes. The beginning was full of unswerving, fragmented and rigid movement, reminiscent video game graphics. This contained movement was a stark contrast to the latter part, which included fast, frenzied, circular patterns. The dancer completely surrendered to the work, and appeared to lose control as intended. The music was a combination of unfamiliar sounds arranged in such a way as to amplify the organized chaos that was emanating from the dancer.

Rambert dancers' new choreography © Rambert
Rambert dancers' new choreography
© Rambert

Dane Hurst's piece, Reminiscence, was a dark piece which focused on memories in which betrayal, pain, love and confusion were all prominent. The choreography had a Dick Tracy eloquence that demonstrated a level of sophistication. Reminiscence's gangster feel was enhanced by a red carpet, men wearing pin-striped clothing and flapper-esque dresses on the women. The live trumpet, played by Laura Jurd, gave it a roaring twenties feel, which added to the tension and coarse dynamic between the dancers. The chemistry between the five individuals made the piece spectacular. The choreography, at times seductive and lyrical, with duets that reminded me of Tango, was stellar.

The final piece, Hikikomori by Malgorzata Dzierzon, was a larger group piece, with solos again highlighting dancer Rudd. Rudd was fantastic, bringing breath and grace to the pedestrian movement. The group work was a combination of awkward foot grabs and asymmetrical shapes. Hikikomori, literally meaning "pulling inward", was a great way to end the evening.

The show offered degrees of insight into the Rambert dancers' individual aesthetic. The dancers represent a unique collective of future choreographers, each with different personalities. The programme had something for everyone and was a generous display of up and coming artists.