Review in the FT.
Birmingham Royal Ballet began its autumn season on Wednesday in transatlantic mood. Under the banner Way Out West! - which applies only to Balanchine's Western Symphony - we were offered a triple-bill that included Jerome Robbins' Fancy Free and a Concert Fantasy from David Bintley. MORE
This last is a fine new creation. Its music is Tchaikovsky's Concert Fantasy, the piano blazing and sighing amid the orchestral brouhaha, and Bintley makes it an exercise in tutu'd, Balanchinian classicism: two soloists, Nao Sakuma and Chi Cao, set off by a chorus of 12 couples. It has, in matter of design, a starveling air: white for the principals; muzzy gray for the attendants; a backdrop of watery projections. No decorator is credited, and the piece seems, on first viewing, to demand something braver, more opulent, more light-filled
And in The Telegraph.
The best ballets have an unmistakable sense of time and place. If you want to know about the American spirit in the 1940s and 1950s, watch their ballets as well as their movies. MORE
Birmingham Royal Ballet's new Way Out West! triple bill has two classic feelgood ballets on it that are all about those sentimental clichés, sailors on the razzle and the cowboys and bar hostesses of the Wild West. But see what Jerome Robbins and George Balanchine have done with these stock figures in Fancy Free and Western Symphony.
And The Times.
AS originally conceived, Way Out West! the mixed programme that opens Birmingham Royal Ballet’s new season, made a lot of sense. It was to be a celebratory trio of American ballets by two of the country’s greatest choreographers: George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. Then one was dropped, and David Bintley, BRB’s artistic director, stepped in with a new classical ballet to fill the gap. His Concert Fantasy has nothing to do with America, but it’s a pleasing contrast to the delightful ballets that do. Bintley has taken Tchaikovsky’s Concert Fantasy for piano and orchestra and fashioned a misty, romantic tutu ballet for 26 of his dancers. It’s a tribute ballet, a love letter to the 19th-century Russian Imperial style, built around a central couple in the Swan Lake mould, she demure and pensive, he worshipful and impetuous. Their lush duet is sensuously crafted and full of classical referencing. The choreography for the ensemble, handsomely deployed, is spiced with a roguish spirit. MORE
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