Bruce is best known for his use of dance to draw attention to
human rights abuses, winning an award from Amnesty International
for this work. Two of the pieces here are from that strand of
his work. The third, 'Rooster' is a mockingly satirical and
exuberant work drawing on the culture of the 1960s and early
1970s and choreographed to hits from The Rolling Stones.
This goes some way towards giving both a counterbalancing viewing
experience to what could be a gloomy if worthwhile audience
experience, and demonstrating Bruce's very considerable versatility
as a choreographer.
is the End of Our Song
is set in Chile following the military coup which ousted President
Allende, and follows Bruce's piece created two years earlier
about South America, Ghost Dances. It pays tribute to
those who lost their lives in the revolution, those who have
'disappeared' and those who try to maintain optimism in everyday
life even under a brutal and oppressive regime.
Swansong is a powerful trio, depicting a prisoner being tortured
to death. It is in my opinion the most skilful and moving piece
on the disc. This is a studio recording by the original three
dancers, but it loses none of the sharpness and dramatic tension
of a live performance of the work. It uses only an electronic
score and a few simple props but is an immense work in its moral
power. It has achieved rightful acclaim and has been performed
many times by various companies.
a very different work,
also achieved great popularity, helped by its catchy sound-track
of Rolling Stones hits. It entertainingly re-captures the times
camera position throughout is as if from a good seat in the
stalls. This gives a straightforward and ungimmicky viewing
experience which is always clear, better in fact, than if watching
in the theatre. These works were performed and thus popularised
in Britain by London Contemporary Dance Theatre, who have now
sadly disbanded. Here they are recorded instead by other companies,
who were in fact commissioners of the works concerned. Performance
- both music and dance - and filming are all excellent and cannot
only fault one can level at this offering is perhaps that, it
shows one side or aspect of this versatile choreographer's work.
However, if he were to be remembered for only one style of work,
it is likely that he would choose this one. It is at times important
rather than uplifting viewing but shows the power of artistic
expression in a political context.