Sturm und Drang—2017 saw the dance world roiling with it, both on and off the stage. Israel’s culture minister hit the headlines for refusing arts funding to performances involving nudity; Palestinian-Syrian refugee Ahmad Joudeh made a prominent debut with the Dutch National Ballet after fleeing death threats from Islamic State; discord boiled over in Moscow as the director of the Bolshoi’s long-awaited “Nureyev” was placed under house arrest on what many suspect are trumped-up charges intended to punish him for celebrating the life of a gay man on stage—a conspicuous challenge to Putin’s ban on so-called ‘homosexual propaganda.’
“First and foremost it’s a party.” This is how Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker characterises “Rain,” created in 2001 for her troupe Rosas. As far as festivities go, it falls more on the side of relaxed rendezvous than all-night rager, but certainly a feeling of elation defines the work. Over the past 16 years, “Rain” has become a signature feature in the Rosas repertory and part of the wider pantheon of contemporary classics.