Mikhail Baryshnikov - ‘Solos With Piano or Not’
Baryshnikov's recent visits to London have been with his White Oak company and I've generally found them pretty frustrating affairs, with not so much of him, leaving one to fall back on his dancers (fine) and the choreography of various American modern souls (not good - I'm talking it up here too) So the great thing about this Baryshnikov show is that he is in every piece. Pure Baryshnikov, which I suspect is what everybody wanted all along anyway. But this is not such an easy thing to arrange when you're 56, and the commissioned works show a man who commands the stage, is a slick mover but whose dance is necessarily clipped back.
The pieces are enjoyable, some funny, some bluesy, some abstract or reflective and you waft along with genial pleasure in the company of a great star. But then came Michael Clark's piece and it was 'sod the mannered Saga style' as the stage lit up with Clark, Baryshnikov and young dancers letting rip to "Back in the USSR". Short and punchy, bodies lept, twisted and weaved with exuberent abandon... and it made you remember dance rather than just seeing an artful body if in glorious shape for its age.