Creation for Balletboyz
First performance: Sadler's Wells Theatre, April 19, 2016
Music: Henryk Górecki
Light Design: James Farncombe

"The first of the two works, by Pontus Lidberg, makes me want to see everything that the choreographer has made. […] Lidberg’s Rabbit is a work of rare craft, which combines a weirdly surreal imagination with meticulous restraint. It opens to a bare, glowingly illuminated stage, and a man in vaguely Edwardian dress who is seated meditatively on a large swing. As he starts to dance a slow, inward solo, he’s joined by a second man, similarly dressed but wearing the large furry head of a rabbit. This imagery, with its overtones of Lewis Carroll and the nonsense tradition, is key to the compelling strangeness with which Lidberg explores his theme: the dynamic of loneliness and the power of the group. As the first dancer tries to accommodate the shapes of his dancing to that of the rabbit man, the stage is invaded by more rabbits who hop, skip and roll across the space with a barrelling force. Taking his cue from his Górecki score, which alternates between delicate pointillist percussion and roaring dissonance, Pontus elaborates on the relationships that evolve. There are quietly questioning duets where the movement seems to rise and fall with the pressure of emotion, and chuggingly aggressive dances between rival clans of rabbits and men. The work ends with just two of the dancers circling each other in a dialogue of tender, wary irresolution: no trite conclusions, just a world of layered emotion made inexplicably potent."

"Rabbit, Swedish choreographer and filmmaker Pontus Lidberg’s ode to childhood, is so wonderfully precise, so cleverly comedic that it’s akin to watching a dozen wind-up toys set off at the same time."

"It is rare to find extremes of grace and eccentricity in the same evening but the two works here deliver both in spades. Swedish choreographer Pontus Lidberg's ballet Rabbit is by turns exquisite, magical, funny and touching. Opening with a young man – possibly a schoolboy – dancing alone while another man with a rabbit's head sits on a large swing, it blossoms like a night bloom into a fantasy of growing up. The rabbits multiply, as rabbits are wont to do, and intermingle with the man before 'returning' to human form. While the live orchestra conveys the shifts from the quiet piano figures to juddering strings of Gorecki's Kleines Requiem fur eine Polka, the dancers engage in a series of serenely floating lifts and synchronised stomping. Abstract yet pulsating with imagery it evokes childhood, imagination, relationships and the human ache for friendship. Exquisite and atmospheric it is a perfect midsummer night's dream of a ballet."