Rambert’s Goat premiere

Oct 26 2017 | By More

Rambert premiere Goat at Festival Theatre

The renowned Rambert Dance Company is to stage the world premiere of a new ballet, Goat, at the Festival Theatre tonight, Thursday 26 October 2017.

The piece is a new dance theatre creation from rising star Ben Duke, inspired by a legendary performance given by jazz and blues singer Nina Simone. It is one of three pieces which will be staged by the company on each night of a three night residency at the theatre.

A scene from A Linha Curva. Pic: Tristram Kenton

Besides Goat, Rambert will be performing new work Symbiosis, a “high velocity celebration of the Rambert dancers’ skills”, choreographed by Andonis Foniadakis, with a newly commissioned score by Ilan Eshkeri, which premiered this September at the Lowry.

Completing the lineup is the company’s party piece: A Linha Curva, a riotous explosion of sexy, colourful, samba-fuelled dance. The 2009 work by Itzik Galili features 28 performers, a massed bank of percussion and dramatic lighting – the cumulative effect of which has audiences on their feet and cheering.

Speaking of the origins of Goat, Duke says: “The piece was inspired by a clip of Nina Simone in this 1976 festival in Montreaux and she sings this song called Feelings.

emotional rollercoaster

“The thing I love about it is this sense of an emotional rollercoaster that I go on as I watch her performing this, from disdain and anger to this soaring emotional piano solo. So that was what I brought into this process.”

Goat is danced to what Rambert describe as “a selection of Nina Simone’s best-loved songs” performed live on stage by jazz singer Nia Lyn. But it is more than a visual accompaniment to music.

“We started rehearsing on the 5th of June,” says Duke. “That was the day after the London Bridge, Borough Market attack. That felt like it opened up conversations about art, art’s role in this context. What we do and why we do it and how do we feel about these things – what does it change about how we live?

“I think it is important that the art that we make is connected to the politics of the time. So it is not about Nina Simone, but there is definitely an inspiration from her – her as a woman, and a black woman and a woman who says very explicitly we have to reflect the times. Otherwise what are we doing here? What is the point?”

Duke, who is the co-founder and artistic director of the Lost Dog dance company, has worked in Scotland before. He choreographing the NTS’s co-production of Dolls with Hush Productions.


For Scottish Dance Theatre, he choreographed the quirky The Life and Times of Girl A. Veering between moments of hilarity and exposed vulnerability, it is hardly the kind of piece for which Rambert is best known.

Speaking during the rehearsal process for Goat, Duke said: “My work is about combining words with dance and movement. It is not such a familiar way of working compared to lots of work that the company do, they have been amazingly open to that.

“I feel very excited about where it is and I feel that there is something with real heart and we just have to make sure we transpose that from this [rehearsal room] environment on to the bigger stage.”

The result of that particular step-up will be shown tonight on the stage of the Festival Theatre. Which certainly feels big enough to hold the emotional depth and power of Duke’s source material from the great Nina Simone – which itself is well worth a listen.


Rambert: A Linha Curva & Other Works
Festival Theatre, 13/29 Nicolson Street EH8 9FT.
Thursday 26 – Saturday 28 October 2017
Evenings: 7.30pm.

Rambert on tour:
Thu 26 – Sat 28 Oct 2017
A Linha Curva; Symbiosis; Goat
Festival Theatre
01325 486555 Book online
Thu 2 – Sat 4 Nov 2017
Ghost Dances; Goat; The days run away like wild horses
Theatre Royal
01225 448844 Book online
Wed 15 – Fri 17 Nov 2017
Ghost Dances; Goat; A Linha Curva
The Alhambra Theatre
01274 432 000 Book online
Tue 21 – Sat 25 Nov 2017
A Linha Curva; Symbiosis; Goat
Sadler’s Wells
020 7863 8000 Book online
Tue 6 – Thu 8 Feb 2018
Ghost Dances; Goat; A Linha Curva
Theatre Royal
08448 11 21 21 Book online
Thu 15 – Sat 17 Feb 2018
Ghost Dances; Goat; A Linha Curva
His Majesty’s Theatre
01224 641122 Book online
Tue 27 Feb – Thu 1 Mar 2018
A Linha Curva; Symbiosis; Goat
Theatre Royal
0115 989 5555 Book online
Thu 15 – Sat 17 Mar 2018
Ghost Dances; Goat; A Linha Curva
Waterside Theatre
08448 717 627 Book online
Wed 21 – Sat 24 Mar 2018
Symbiosis; Goat; Julie Cunningham & Company: To Be Me
Theatre Royal
0844 871 7650 Book online
Tue 27 – Thu 29 Mar 2018
Ghost Dances; A Linha Curva; The days run away like wild horses
New Victoria Theatre
0844 871 7645 Book online


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