It’s rapidly descending into one of those days. I am busier than a busy bee work wise only our IT system has packed up on us and nobody has any clue if it’s going to be back today and there’s only so much manual labour a girl can do without access to things. On the plus side I’ve got the intrawebz and I’ve got Office software. And I’ve got a couple of reviews outstanding to write. GOOD TIMES.
As I’ve said before, trips to the ballet sometimes feel like buses: don’t go for ages then three performances in a week. After a triumphant evening with Ballet Black, I was back at my spiritual home for a Royal Ballet triple bill and then at Sadler’s Wells for my inaugural meeting with the Ballet Boyz. Then I went and spent the weekend in North Wales, nearly got blown off the Menai Bridge walking over to Anglesey, was utterly bemused by the weather on my way back to England and then pinged something in the back of my knee doing barre stretch.
The Royal Ballet’s bill offered up Balanchine’s Apollo and two new works by Ratmansky (OH YES) and Wheeldon. I’d seen Apollo before, but not performed by the RB – a couple of times with ENB – and not with the prologue (which, even nearly a week later, I find myself somewhat indifferent towards and wondering quite how necessary it was). I rather enjoy Apollo, it has to be said – well not so much the prologue, but the main part of the piece. It’s early Balanchine and shows so much promise that, as Frank Sinatra once (almost) sang, the best was yet to come. Federico Bonelli was a super Apollo and of the muses I particularly enjoyed Melissa Hamilton’s gorgeously lyrical Terpsichore. I was thinking the other day how there’s a certain ‘smell’ to Stravinsky ballet scores – no, seriously, if you listen to them with your eyes closed there really is. The opening of Petrushka smells of baking and smoke and busy streets. Rite of Spring smells earthy and warm, brown with green beginning to shoot in around the edges. Apollo smells new and fresh – really green, a little like lazy summer evenings that hold so much promise.
Ratmansky’s new piece, 24 Preludes, is a series of micro stories for four couples set to – quite imaginatively – 24 Chopin preludes which stretch from about half a minute to maybe four. It’s a delightful concept but perhaps a little too long and drawn out (there were probably a couple of preludes that could have been dropped). It’s a mix of moods and feelings going from one to another in a seemingly – but not entirely –disjointed fashion. Alina Cojocaru was particularly stunning and it was nice to see Edward Watson in something lyrically classical because he truly is a beautiful, beautiful dancer.
There was a lot of feeling going on for Wheeldon’s Aeternum. In places it felt very reminiscent of Dance à grande vitesse – but if that was about an earthly journey from A to B, this was a very different journey transcending from earth to, well if not heaven, somewhere other-where. And there were undertones of MacMillan’s Requiem in there – certainly in some of the corps’ movements. Marianela Nuñez was stunning but I was particularly drawn to James Hay in the second movement as sort of a guide from here to there.
And then it was time for something completely different with the Ballet Boyz who were showing two pieces in their show at Sadler’s Wells: Liam Scarlett’s Serpent and Russell Maliphant’s Fallen. The Scarlett piece was visually stunning, softly lyrical and incredibly smooth, gently undulating and snake like in its movements and arcs. Russell Maliphant’s Fallen makes incredible use of light and movement within the light playing on how light falls on skin creating a visually stunning piece. All eight of the ‘Boyz’ are supremely talented and I look forward to seeing more of what they have to offer. And, in response to the question Ballet Boyz or chips, it’s the Ballet Boyz…
Anyhoo, allegedly our network is coming back now-ish. So I should stop blogging/reading my Kindle with my feet on my desk/wandering around chatting/napping on the sofa and brace myself. But I might just ice my knee first…