Ghost Dances theatre review (UK Tour): Christopher Bruce’s 1981 work Ghost Dances, one of the most celebrated contemporary dance pieces of its generation, returns to the stage for a nationwide tour.

Ghost Dances theatre review by Katey Thompson.

Ghost Dances theatre review
Ghost Dances theatre review


The legendary Ballet Rambert are on the final leg of their 2017/18 tour and have created a fantastic show that is very different to a traditional ballet; it embraces the passion and vibe of south America, from the every day to the traditional to the party atmosphere of carnival time. Ghost Dances is a trilogy of three different dances all linked by the theme of south America.

The curtain rose to ‘The days run away like wild horses’ which contained a lady sat at a small table against a small set of continuing walls, windows and doors.  The first person to come on stage appears with a ball and throws it in and out of the window. Gradually as the individual movements in the scene repeat, more people join in each cycle, another person appears in the stage until the cast has outgrown the space.  Finally, it culminates with the set disintegrating revealing men wearing dresses and the women wearing the suits. The scenery for the dance effortlessly flowed from one to the next, due to the simple scenery being used very effectively together with the lighting which created a moody atmosphere.

Ghost Dances theatre review
Ghost Dances theatre review

Ghost Dances was first performed by Ballet Rambert in the 1980s.  It is in huge contrast to the first dance and absorbs many influences from south America; the day of the dead, death masks, as well as the dance being set to pan pipes. The pace and focus of the dance is slower.

The third and final dance is A Linha Curva which was written in Sao Paulo and really captures the Latin party vibe. The dancers are dancing on a grid pattern which is reflected by the pattern the lights. This highlights and the timing and rhythm of the dances is almost hypnotic to see, as they show the fun and fluidity of the moves, at times it feels like you are at a carnival full of passion and bodies moving in perfect rhythmic order.

The dancers were stunning to watch as they leapt, twirled and pirouetted across the stage, due to the costumes it was often difficult to tell the men from the women and the stage became a mesmerising spectacle celebrating the power and beauty of dance. It is a ballet to be recommended to anyone who enjoys modern dance.

Ghost Dances theatre review by Katey Thompson, March 2018.

Ghost Dances is running at the New Victoria Theatre in Woking until 31st March, 2018.

Ghost Dances