Classical and dance lovers alike can rejoice with this take on Bach’s Goldberg Variations at Sadler’s Wells. With her company, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker brings Rosas to London, alongside pianist Pavel Kolesnikov for an intimate and profound encounter. 

Some unsure notices stated the performance would be an hour, then 2 hours. Strange when the variations themselves stand at under 90 mins, a brief scene change could have also been a mini interval. This intimate show had both artists hold command of their craft, one a youth with much promise and the other an experienced choreographer. The first half established itself, taking a while to really crack open. Anne’s vitality in her movement is a testament, showing off all sorts of tricks. The second part would see costume changes and a brighter, more soul searching quest in my eyes.   

Her whipped up dance features flirtations, frustrations, gyrations and gentility. There was a homeliness to it all. Even whispers of humour and Anne speaking the odd phrase under her breath, along with a scan of the stage utilising most for a great effect. Pavel Kolesnikov plays through the Bach with grace and humility, the touching Aria leading into the 30 variations then back again to the Aria, is an epic feat and should not be taken lightly. His adorableness would also see him occasionally interact with Anne. Gold and silver foil also haunt the stage in a huge clump downing hanging above a wing. From the set to the highly commendable lighting, Minna Tiikkainen adds waves of atmosphere to a glowing, moody stage.    
This felt like quite an epic and the final few variations reached a moving plateau I’ve rarely seen in dance. You could feel Anne’s exhaustion, her unbridled strength and agility.       


It runs till 7 September.

Review: James Ellis     Photo:  Anne Van Aerschot