Haunting, skeletal figures take to The Lowry’s stage in Ghost Dances, an iconic piece by Christopher Bruce, former Artistic Director of Rambert Dance. This evocative work returned to the UK for the first time in 13 years in November 2016; coming to The Lowry as part of a 2017 tour, Ghost Dances is a moving tribute to victims of political oppression in South America, in which spirits of death interrupt the lives of ordinary people and transport them across the threshold between the living and the deceased.
Scored with traditional Latin American music arranged by Nicholas Mojsiejenko, and drawing on classic imagery from the annual Day of the Dead celebrations, Ghost Dances was inspired by a conversation between Bruce and Joan Jara, the widow of Chilean musician, writer, theatre director and composer Victor Jara, who was tortured and murdered under Pinochet’s regime. “I wanted it to be about all the little people that are caught up in that terror,” explained Bruce in an interview with the BBC. The result is choreography that is distinctly human, with fragments of individual lives translated through simple, characterful movement, and at the same time deeply affecting, as the masked figures on stage bring death and disappearance into their world.
Ghost Dances will be presented as a triple bill, alongside the premiere of a new work by the Director of the Greek National Opera Ballet Andonis Foniadakis – with a newly-commissioned score by British neo-classical composer Ilan Eshkeri – and Transfigured Night by the two-time Olivier Award-winning choreographer Kim Brandstrup. Premiered in 2015, Transfigured Night went on to win Best Modern Choreography at the Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards in 2016 for its evocative portrayal of two lovers jeopardised by a dark secret, with intimate duets set against a backdrop of stunning ensemble dancing.