Thursday, 5 June 2014

Draft Works 2014

Draft Works, Royal Ballet, Linbury Studio Theatre @ ROH - reviewed on 2nd June

Seven company dancers and two external choreographers created pieces for the Royal Ballet's 2014 Draft Works.
Tara-Brigitte Bhavani and Romany Pajdak
in Ludovic Ondiviela's untitled work
Photo: Tristram Kenton / ROH
The highlight was Ludovic Ondiviela's untitled duet representing the battle between two opposing sides of one woman's personality. As the confident and dominant persona, Tara-Brigitte Bhavnani strutted and posed; her counterpart, Romany Pajdak, cowered and folded her limbs inwards. Holding a length of ribbon attached to both dancers' wrists, Bhavnani then paraded around Pajdak, until the latter was left bound and helpless on the floor as the lights went down.

My enjoyment came partially from the resonance I felt with the vulnerable persona on display. But Ondiviela's choreography was also thematically intelligent and engaging, as well as visually exciting.

Another interesting work was from Kristen McNally, the evening's only female choreographer. In her typically quirky style, Matriarch featured two overtly sexual women seducing a pizza delivery boy while smoking cigarettes. McNally wasn't happy with her creation and bravely expressed this to the audience in her introduction: "I hope you will see a beauty in seeing the work at this early stage."
Francesca Hayward, Teo Dubreil, Luca Acri and Reece Clark
in Kenta Kura's DW2. Photo: Tristram Kenton / ROH
Also pleasing were Kenta Kura's DW2, a vibrant classical quartet for Francesca Hayward and three male dancers, and Marcelino Sambé's surrealist and frantic trio, Preparations for the Last TV Fake. Nicol Edmonds gave a stunning performance of Joshua Beamish's L'inverno. Though the piece wasn't particularly interesting choreographically, Edmonds' flowing movements impressed.
Draft Works is always a great opportunity to see young choreographers' work, but it also gives the chance to see Royal Ballet dancers up close, including corps de ballet members who rarely get to take centre stage. My main criticism this year was that the audience were placed on two sides of the stage but half of the works had been prepared facing one side only. From behind, much of the choreography lost impact but there were still plenty of works on display that showed real creative skill.

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