When Darcey Bussell is lifted across the stage - her legs taut, her head back and her throat lushly bared - she looks like a woman in the aftermath of some appalling erotic triumph.
How can an 'erotic triumph' be appalling? Sounds like a contradiction in terms to me. Seriously though, Bussell was very good in this work as was Leanne Benjamin, the other leading female. Not so sure about their back up though as the male dancers in the background looked a rather poor lot on the whole and they had in their midst the newest American recruit, Eric Underwood, who danced with the crisp precision and sharp musicality that Balanchine requires showing up his new colleagues and making them look a bit limp in comparison, but then the RB has frequently struggled with Balanchine with just a select few managing to correctly interpret his individual style.
Glen Tetley's "Voluntaries" hasn't been danced in an age and I found myself in the midst of a good deal of excited chatter when the lights came up, even overhearing one woman claiming it was the best ballet she had ever seen! Certainly it is a very striking work by a seriously under-valued choreographer and judging from the reactions I heard, perhaps it deserves more frequent appearances in the rep. All the same I was a little uncomfortable with the manner in which it was danced, with legs being slung up towards the ceiling and the leading dancer, Cojocaru, being thrown about almost in the manner of a rag doll. I vividly remember Lynn Seymour in this role and she gave it a certain gravitas that was missing on Thursday night; the ballet was after all created as a response to the sudden death of John Cranko and I always felt it wasn't supposed to be just a virtuoso exercise.