Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Mathias is included in another review!

Every spring Birmingham Royal Ballet splits its company in two....part go "north" and part go "south"....bringing great dance to many smaller cities across the United Kingdom. It also gives many of the dancers opportunities to perform roles they've only under-studied or danced occasionally. It allows "third cast" to become "first" or "second" cast. It brings quality live performances into intimate places, instilling the love of movement and music in the hearts and souls of people who can't always make it to the "big city". It also affords local newspapers to cover the productions!'s what David Bellan said in the Oxfordshire Limited Edition:
(Read it HERE as well!

The South African-born choreographer John Cranko is best known for his long directorship of Stuttgart Ballet, where he produced masterpieces, usually story ballets, for the superlative dancers at his disposal there. Brouillards, (Fog), however, is a plotless series of episodes in which the choreographer responds to Debussy’s music of that title. “Mist, snow, heather and sails are passing pictures in the music, leaving behind no more than sadness and memories of transient beauty,” Cranko said.

The work has a dream-like quality in which what we have seen seems to melt away as the final ensemble comes to a close. But there is humour, too. There’s a very funny Cake Walk by James Barton, Mathias Dingman and Kit Holder in which they dance, stiff as puppets, arms by sides with hands poking out sideways. They look slightly perplexed by what they are doing, and finally collapse on the stage. Among other highlights is a beautiful slow duet with Ambra Vallo and Jamie Bond, and Alexander Campbell’s solo expressing his love for a sleeping, uncaring girl.

David Bintley made The Dance House, inspired by Shostakovich’s first piano concerto, in memory of dancer Nick Millington, who died in his mid-thirties.This, again, is a series of pieces for various combinations of dancers, filled with a calm beauty, and demonstrating once again, in its phrasing, Bintley’s great musicality. Quite outstanding is the duet by Natasha Oughtred and Matthew Lawrence, with its many floating lifts and beautiful line.

Nowadays the name Balanchine brings to mind a whole series of abstract, neo-classical works that made his name, but when he left Diaghilev and went to the United States he worked a lot in musical theatre, even producing a ballet for 50 circus elephants in pink tutus, with music by Stravinsky. On Your Toes, with choreography by Balanchine and music by Richard Rogers, is a backstage story of jealousy over the favours of a ballerina — too complex to go in to here — but the finale of the show is a ballet — Slaughter on Tenth Avenue (right).

This on its own forms the final part of the triple bill. Set in Kate Ford’s amusing nightclub, with towering skyscrapers in the shape of high-heeled legs, this is an enjoyable romp, with showgirls, gangsters, bar-men and cops. The centrepiece is a long duet featuring Robert Parker and slinky, sexy Celine Gittens — dressed, apparently, only in a fishnet body-stocking. It ends with a multiple shooting, and makes a lively conclusion to the evening.

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