Ice-cream and cake all round
More a celebration for Bob Lockyer rather than the publicised Celebration of Bob Lockyer this was an enterprisingly varied celebration of work that typified Lockyer’s eclectic approach to the dance work he was able to programme for the BBC during his forty year career. Not wanting to look backwards Lockyer asked some of his extremely talented friends to produce a series of short new works for this, his 70th birthday party.
The first guests to arrive were Drew Hawkins and Andy Macleman from London Contemporary Dance School, whirling away to Macleman’s Drone. Be-caped in Dervish fashion they roamed the dance-floor in a duet of gentle tenderness.
It looked for a moment that the Monica Mason commissioned Papillon had turned up to the wrong party. Its pure classicism and pink pointe shoes freaked out some of the audience but Sebastian Goffin’s coy tale of two young’uns falling in love over a book was danced with vitality by Royal Ballet School students Mayara Magri and Skyler Martin and ultimately won the revellers over.
Four very attractive Rambert girls and a violinist made up Mark Baldwin’s Prayer. Its multitude of arabesques and pirouettes were beautifully performed but the piece lacked personality.
Siobhan Davies commissioned The Way It Works Is This…. Charlie Morrissey, also the choreographer, was a lithe performer but I couldn’t have cared less what happened.
The excellent Daniela Neugebauer was the absorbing soloist for Robert Binet’s Lake Maligne. Initially aping Wayne McGregor (from whom it was commissioned) it gently wound down into something more lyrical and interesting as the music morphed into Bill Callahan’s Palimpsest.
Richard Alston supplied three pieces for the party, dotting them around the evening like tasty trays of canapés. They were all danced superbly; Isthmus was notable for the ensemble’s smooth precision and the excerpt from In Memory featured a riveting duet between Liam Riddick and Nancy Nerantzi. But it was Shuffle It Right, the shindig that closed the evening, that hit the perfect celebratory tone. Kicking off the mood music that had prevailed thus far and slipping the jazz-swing of Hoagy Carmichael onto the turntable, Alston allowed his dancers to show off the pure joy of dancing to music performed for the sheer hell of it.
Happy Birthday Mr Lockyer. Taxi!