Black and White, English National Ballet – reviewed on 17th March
An interestingly-titled programme with five different ballets was English National Ballet’s latest offering at the London Coliseum.
The highlight was Van Le Ngoc’s triumphant new ballet Vue de l’autre. With wonderful piano music by Ludovico Einaudi (much like the gorgeous soundtrack of movie Amélie) and ingenious lighting by David Richardson (think starry, romantic nights), it was a delightful mix of melting, leaping and encircled bodies. Supposedly abstract but with a red rose implying a love theme, ten dancers showed many facets of passion and emotion. Some partnerships were blissful and some filled with pain and regret; it was English National Ballet displaying agony and ecstasy at its most beautiful. All dancers performed well but Daria Klimentová and Vadim Muntagirov were outstanding. They moved seamlessly from one knotted embrace to another with a sense of electricity between them. Continually separated and reunited, their yearning and infatuation for each other was almost tangible.
Choreographer Le Ngoc is a first artist with ENB. Born in Vietnam, he danced with Ballet National de Marseille before joining the company. He cites Einaudi’s music as his main inspiration for Vue: “there is so much beauty, delicacy and depth in it... each time it opens up new horizons, new ideas and inspiration”. Le Ngoc is a testament to why British companies should continue to fund and nurture the talent of such young choreographers.
The evening’s other works were less noteworthy. The Black Swan pas de deux was performed smoothly by Erina Takahashi and Dmitri Gruzdyev. Artistic director Wayne Eagling’s two works, Resolution and Men Y Men, showed the company’s athleticism. Suite en Blanc, with choreography by Serge Lifar, gave a few lesser known dancers the chance to shine. Nancy Osbaldeston, in particular, demonstrated an exemplary ability to hit sudden and awkward balances on pointe.
None of these were anywhere near as enjoyable as Vue and it was this all too short glimmer of brilliance that made worthwhile an otherwise unremarkable evening.