Birthday month in les noces… [Royal Ballet Triple Bill]

My last trip to my spiritual home, if we all we recall, was perhaps not the roaring success I’d come to expect when vicious toothache left me completely bewildered and confused by Prince of the Pagodas. It’s been a month since then and the wisdom tooth continues to be a problematic little pest but – for those of you who’ve been nagging me to hie me to a dentist since the outbreak of this sorry saga – it shouldn’t be a problem after next week when I’ve had said pest removed. Well hopefully. The top one (which has done something utterly hinky) is a simple extraction, the bottom one it transpires is coming in at an angle and is somewhat more complex. My lovely new dentist hopes that by getting the top one out it might sort out the bottom one… we shall see. Apart from those two troublesome teeth, I have lovely teeth with not a problem in sight. Enough about my teeth though, nobody really cares about them (apart from me, my dentist and probably my colleagues who are sick of me moaning on about the pain, THE PAIN)…

The triple bill I saw last night is my last trip to my Spiritual Home to see the Royal Ballet for this season  (*sad face*) but it was a good bill to bow out on. Opening proceedings is Ashton’s Birthday Offering – a delightfully fizzy gala-tastic piece created for the company’s 25th anniversary. At the time it was designed to showcase the company’s finest talent – the likes of Margot Fonteyn and Beryl Grey among others. This time around it’s showcasing a whole other host of talent who breeze through fiendish variations as though they were strolling for the bus. I can’t pick any one out of the seven I saw (Yuhui Choe, Laura Morera, Roberta Marquez, Sarah Lamb, Hikaru Koboyashi, Itziar Mendizabal, Marianela Nuñez) because they were all equally jaw droppingly amazing as was the mazurka performed by the men. What I will mention is the pas de deux created on Fonteyn and Michael Somes, danced last night by Nuñez and Thiago Soares. There’s something about an Ashton pas de deux that just is. It’s that feeling of heart clutching, breath holding, lump in throat awe. I had it for Cojocaru/Kobborg in Fille, I had it again last night with Nuñez/Soares in Birthday Offering. I just… yeah. No more ovaries.

The Royal Ballet: Birthday Offering

From the sublime to… well, A Month In The Country. I don’t know, I find myself of no fixed opinion on the piece. I mean it was lovely in places with breath taking pas de deux but mostly I found myself a little nonplussed, a little fidgety and… I’m almost ashamed to admit it, I checked my watch once or twice during it. It was danced superbly – Paul Kay was a real eye opener and Alina Cojocaru was just stunning (as usual) – but something in the story wasn’t connecting. Meh, I don’t know. On the plus side, the Chopin score is gorgeous so, like in Enigma Variations, when the dancing makes you go a bit ‘meh’ there’s always the option of eyes closed and listen to the music.

On the other hand, Les Noces… WOW is all I can say. I’d gone into that with no preconceptions really. I came out with my mind somewhat blown. I don’t think I’d ever be able to pop the Stravinsky score in my iPodularic device and have it in my ears in the same way as, say, a good bit of Tchaikovsky BUT in conjunction with Nijinska’s choreography it’s one of those pieces where all the elements blend together and can’t really be separated. It’s an intriguing piece, deceptively simply but, I imagine, tricky to work with the music. There’s an earthy, raw feeling to it in the same way that Rite of Spring has. It is very much a piece that’s more about feeling than anything else. What it doesn’t have is that slightly sinister undertone that Rite of Spring does, it’s very much more… level, I think (but, y’know, I’m a bit of a fan of things where no one gets ritually sacrificed). It’s a piece that’s striking in its imagery – the ‘tower’, the bride ‘chained’ to her family/friends before the wedding, the mother’s palpable grief as the bride leaves for the wedding ceremony, the suggestive ‘tower’ at the end that the next one will be the lead friend (on this occasion ably danced by Deirdre Chapman). I find that Les Noces is another one of those pieces that leaves me brimming over with ~feels and I can’t quite put them all into words. But, then again, there is nothing quite like a ballet that brings on a good bout of ~feels. More of the same please…

Royal Ballet: Les Noces

All images via the google machine, clickity click to link back to original source. All opinions my own and to be taken with a healthy pinch of salt.



Filed under ballet how it should be done

2 responses to “Birthday month in les noces… [Royal Ballet Triple Bill]

  1. Jane

    Have quantities of smoothie and milkshake for the first day or so after the extractions. And avoid rice for a good week until the socket hardens. Picking rice out of a wisdom tooth socket is Not Fun. Nothing else seems to get stuck in the same way…

    • Rosie

      I’m still picking rice out of mine 4 months on. Sometimes I wonder if this is meant to happen.

      It’s not 4-month-old rice, I hasten to add.

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