A new piece, two 20th classics – one pretending it is from the 19th century, the other using ballet to tell a ten minute story and a dance piece steeped in neoclassical dance. If anything, the programme showed just how broad the term ‘ballet’ can be.
Delia Mathews‘ Odette is one of the most exquisite characterisations of the role I have ever had the pleasure to see. (Her Odette is excellent too.) Rarely have I been more moved by the slow story of new love which is the Act II pas de deux. Mathews found the lyricism inherent in the narrative, and matched it with dancing that was beautifully serene. Steps were unrushed and were given “soul”. She found the drama in the dancing.
This was a strongly danced and acted Giselle, with two principals at the height of their powers.
Svetlana Zakharova‘s Giselle was convincingly enamoured of her Albrecht, and he of her too. He (Sergei Polunin)’s looks of tenderness and solicitude looked genuine and in close up, touching. His evident joy at seeing Giselle and finding his feelings still reciprocated was well done: smiles, longing looks, this was real chemistry from the pair. At one point Albrecht asks, with a glance “are you ok?” after Giselle’s little heart twinge. She nodded. He smiled. In close up this was lovely to see. In fact, knowing what was to come, I got a bit emotional at these parts.
Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos is a strange thing. Part light comedy (Prologue), part drama (The Opera) and at times a weird mixture of both (The Opera, again). Strauss seems to be playing with our expectations of what those forms of entertainment mean and what they can offer us of value.
NB: this is the review of my first viewing. My second viewing brought out more points, and was a better evening.
Beautiful in decor, in costume and in lighting; in choreography gloriously fresh, in intent noble: Ratmansky’s Sleeping Beauty is a treasure entire, fit to be a jewel in any ballet company’s crown. Shown at American Ballet Theater this Summer, and garnering distinct acclaim and consistenly praising reviews there it was deemed a success. Critics lauded all, and loved it. My expectations were therefore high.
It became apparent to me on this, my second viewing, that Team Ratmansky and Doug Fullington’s reconstruction of this ballet is something of a master-work. Genuinely fairy-tale like, it has an unashamed aspiration to be beautiful. Some would say it is High Art and I agree. It is importantly, crafted with love.