From The Desk Of The Lilac Time’s Stephen Duffy: The Ballet Rambert, Specifically Christopher Bruce’s “Cruel Garden,” “Ghost Dances,” “Sergeant Early’s Dream,” “Swansong,” “Moonshine” And “Rooster”

Stephen Duffy was the first singer in a little band called Duran Duran. He left them in 1979 and began a series of other musical projects before settling into the Lilac Time almost three decades ago with brother Nick. The band’s latest album is No Sad Songs. Stephen Duffy will be guest editing all week.


Duffy: Dame Marie Rambert started the Rambert Dance Company in 1919 in Notting Hill Gate. When I lived there in the ‘80s and ‘90s, I caught many buses from outside where all of those mighty dances went down and I wondered. In the ‘70s, along with the London Contemporary Dance Theatre, young working-class punks, as I was, could witness their greatness at the New Birmingham Repertory Theatre. An amazing building that delivered soul. I once saw Martin Carthy perform acoustically in front of the theatre building and later the all West Midlands line up of Fairport Convention play inside as loud as Slade! Such folk days we had then and much for free. In those years, I saw the Rambert perform Antony Tudor’s Dark Elegies, Nijinsky’s L’Apres-midi d’une faune, Cruel Garden (by Christopher Bruce with Lindsay Kemp) and The Tempest. Works by Merce Cunningham, Twyla Tharp and Siobhan Davies. Christopher Bruce had emerged from the Rambert company to be a choreographer, and I loved everything he did. Ghost Dances, Sergeant Early’s Dream, Swansong, Moonshiner and Rooster. Moonshiner, a dance to early Dylan taken from the first Bootleg Series discs, made me cry. Rooster was an opportunity to hear the early Stones played through a modern public address system in beautiful theatres. I thank you, Christopher Bruce, you hero.

Video after the jump.