Friday, 31 July 2015

July Round-up

Photo: Tristram Kempton
This month there are blogs about Christopher Wheeldon's Cinderella and the Royal Ballet School's annual matinee.

Other writing:
A preview of New Art Club's Hercules on Londonist
A review of Inala: a Zulu ballet on Londonist
A feature about London Contemporary Dance School (p.31) and a review of Urdang Academy's Graduate Revue (p.66) in Dancing Times, August issue

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Royal Ballet School Annual Matinee 2015

Annual matinee, Royal Ballet School, Royal Opera House - reviewed on 12th July

The Royal Ballet School looked thoroughly professional in its annual matinee on the Royal Opera House main stage.

Young students opened the programme, performing the Mazurka des Enfants from Paquita with confidence and poise. A lengthy extract from La Bayadere followed, with upper school students impressing particularly in corps de ballet and small group choreography. In the principal roles, Chisato Katsura (who stood out in the school’s Raymonda last year and will shortly be joining the Royal Ballet company) gave a charming but uncharacteristically wobbly performance, whilst Francisco Serrano was technically excellent but lacking the artistic interpretation which Katsura showed in spades.

Graduating students excelled in Jiří Kylián’s Sechs Tänze, a rather bizarre 1986 work featuring humour, absurdity and a lot of faux violence. Its ten-strong cast could easily have been mistaken for a contemporary company which specialised in performing Kylián’s choreography.

Second years impressed in Frederick Ashton’s playful Les Rendezvous. Koho Yanagisawa was particularly exquisite, displaying near-perfect mastery of the choreographer’s musicality, deep body bends and fast footwork. Joseph Sissens also shone with his excellent technique, charming characterisation and solid partnering.

The Grand Défilé is always the matinee’s highlight, and this year was no exception. The school’s youngest students opened with simple and elegant steps, and final year boys completed the afternoon with dynamic leaps and pirouettes.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Christopher Wheeldon's Cinderella

Cinderella, Dutch National Ballet, London Coliseum - reviewed on 9th July
Photo: Angela Sterling
Christopher Wheeldon’s Cinderella disappoints. There are charming elements, such as the seated thigh-slapping group of ladies waiting to try on Cinderella’s discarded shoe, and the group of four Fates who follow the heroine throughout. But weak pas de deux and an overcomplicated narrative – including scenes of the Prince as a child, romance for one of Cinderella's stepsisters and even dancing conkers – left me longing for Frederick Ashton’s version.

Cinderella shines most in Julian Crouch's designs, particularly the season-replacement Spirits with their vibrantly coloured outfits complete with matching wigs and lipstick.