Dance review: Scottish Ballet: Exalt & 5 Tangos, Glasgow

There are many reasons to fall in love with a piece of dance – the performers, the choreography, the staging. Marc Brew’s new work for Scottish Ballet gives us all that, topped with something even more special: humanity.

Scottish Ballets 5 Tangos was fresh despite its familiarity

Scottish Ballet: Exalt & 5 Tangos - Tramway, Glasgow

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Exalt is a coming together of integrated contemporary dance company Indepen-dance 4, freelance dancer and wheelchair user Suzie Birchwood, and 18 dancers from Scottish Ballet. It would be reductive and patronising to suggest the sheer act of bringing performers of different disciplines and abilities together makes for moving and fascinating viewing, but I’ll hold my hands up to that. There is something genuinely moving about the egalitarian, homogenous way Brew has created a movement landscape in which everyone is equal.

Pushing all that to one side, however, Exalt is a work bursting with exciting choreography. Four free-standing ladders climb the air in each corner of the stage, used to athletic affect by distinct teams of dancers. An electronic/classical score by German composer Nils Frahm becomes a powerful force for change, as the work slips from tender to exhilarating.

Brew featured in a short, pre-show film (beautifully shot by two Scottish Ballet dancers), whizzing around the studio in his wheelchair – a chance for the audience to see the man behind the magnificent movement.

Hans van Manen’s virtuosic 5 Tangos closed the show. Despite being created in 1977, and previously performed by Scottish Ballet in 2012, this sharp-footed work looked fresher than ever.

Seen on 24.04.15