CriticalDance Forum

Royal Ballet's Triple Bill: McGregor / Wheeldon / Balanchin
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Author:  kurinuku [ Wed Nov 15, 2006 8:47 am ]
Post subject:  Royal Ballet's Triple Bill: McGregor / Wheeldon / Balanchin

Return of a British star
by ISMENE BROWN for the Daily Telegraph
published: November 11, 2006

What is he doing instead of Björk, then? Michael Nyman. If that substitution slams the foot down hard on your heartbeat's brake pedal, then it is a measure of Wheeldon's glistening talent that he can so confidently proclaim that his new creation, DGV, opening on Friday, will be just as thrilling. The title stands for "Danse à Grande Vitesse", it will star four star ballerinas, Leanne Benjamin, Darcey Bussell, Marianela Nuñez and Zenaida Yanowsky, and it will go like a bullet train.

Author:  Cassandra [ Mon Nov 20, 2006 12:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Chroma, 4T's and DGV

A totally wonderful new triple bill opened at the ROH on Friday with two outstanding new works. “Chroma”, the new piece by Wayne McGregor was for me the best thing he’s done so far, edgy and exciting but with a fluid quality that is often missing in more classical works. The RB dancers were in the main excellent, indeed there are now members of the company that look far more at home in modern pieces than in classical: Edward Watson is a good example. Alina Cojocaru is also a modern dancer at heart in my opinion, those extreme extensions of hers that jar so horribly in her classical work come off brilliantly in something like this and she also managed some real womanly raw emotion in Chroma as opposed to what we see in her cute little girl in a tutu roles. Sarah Lamb and Steven McRae almost stole the show, but then when don’t they?

The centrepiece was Balanchine’s Four Temperaments, with outstanding performances from Samodurov, Bussell and Acosta. Only the usually reliable Nunez missed the mark as ‘Choleric’ – probably because she didn’t appear to be at all. 4T’s must have been in the Royal’s rep for some three decades now, and it’s one of the Balanchine works they appear to be most at home in, it went some way in making up for that under par performance of Violin Concerto that I saw recently.

The oddly named DGV is a reference to a French train company though Michael Nyman’s score is in no way ‘train music’ in the identifiable way that Honneger’s Pacific 231 or Vivian Ellis’s Coronation Scot are. Christopher Wheeldon uses a small corps de ballet rather well in his latest creation; they jump up and down and stick their arms out in a kind of balletic semaphore in front of and behind a set that resembles a disintegrating armadillo. The principals are stretched by Wheeldon’s choreography, but not found wanting, moods change rapidly (as in the earlier McGregor work) and the emotional atmosphere becomes charged, punctuated by the almost humorous interruptions of the corps. Darcey Bussell was again memorable as in 4T’s and Leanne Benjamin also stood out in a brilliant cast. Edward Watson appeared in all three works and impressed in all three.

The two new ballets of the evening both deserve a future in the RB rep (especially Chroma) but for this run they get a mere handful of performances before a dreary succession of Beauty’s and Nutcrackers (yeah, that’s right, it’s nearly Christmas) take over. New works are the life-blood of every company so at least give them as much opportunity to be seen as possible.

Author:  kurinuku [ Tue Nov 21, 2006 6:05 am ]
Post subject: 

Royal Ballet triple bill
by JUDITH MACKRELL for the Guardian
published: November 20, 2006

Advance reports made a fuss over McGregor's Chroma, which was to feature three songs by the White Stripes. In fact, it is Joby Talbot's orchestration of these songs, along with his own music, that has the audience pinned to their seats. Joh


Two New Ballets, Covent Garden, London
by CLEMENT CRISP for the Financial Times
published: November 20, 2006

McGregor’s familiar dissection and distortion of dance movement and its impulses.

It is osteopathy as choreography, bones and musculature pulled and twisted, the dance fighting to escape from the sinuosities, the flexings and contractions of the body. It is movement introverted, self-obsessed, self-regarding, brilliantly done by its cast (who were deservedly cheered to the echo) and unable to escape from its formulaic, almost dogmatic manner.


Magnificently modern
by SARAH CROMPTON for the Daily Telegraph
published: NOvember 20, 2006

That sense of anticipation was more than realised as Wayne McGregor's Chroma began with a thrillingly strange and transfixing duet for Alina Cojocaru and Edward Watson. Architect John Pawson's box-like set places them in a mysterious void; like a pinioned insect with a butting head, she seems at once to envelop and battle him.

Author:  kurinuku [ Thu Nov 23, 2006 5:35 am ]
Post subject: 

Royal Ballet New Works, Royal Opera House, London
by ZOE ANDERSON for the Independent
published: November 22, 2006

Oh, what dancing! There's a thrill about the Royal Ballet's new triple bill: two new works, a cheering audience, some of the company's best dancers in full flight.

Author:  kurinuku [ Sun Nov 26, 2006 11:19 am ]
Post subject: 

Less really is more
by LUKE JENNINGS for the Observer
published: November 26, 2006

Christopher Wheeldon's DGV (Danse a Grande Vitesse) is the evening's other new work. It's a thing of grand scale and hurtling momentum, like the Michael Nyman score it's set to, which was originally commissioned for the inauguration of the Paris-Lille rail link.


Dance: Royal Ballet Triple Bill, Royal Opera House, London
by JENNY GILBERT for the Independent
published: November 26, 2006

Not often, perhaps never, has the Royal Opera House seemed such a hot place to be on a Friday night. The management, in a bid to bring in new audiences, had set a drastic cap on seat prices. The place was heaving, the mood combustible. Young fans of the Detroit garage band the White Stripes, whose music was to feature in a new ballet by Wayne McGregor, jostled with Aquascutum types for whom the White Stripes could have been a brand of toothpaste.


All White on the night
by DAVID DOUGILL for the Sunday Times
published: November 26, 2006

Either way, admiration was deserved by superb company performances in that and the other works — a timeless masterpiece by George Balanchine, to contrast with the shock of the new, and the second premiere of the evening, by Christopher Wheeldon.

Author:  PB2003 [ Tue Nov 28, 2006 7:27 am ]
Post subject:  McGregor/Balanchine/Wheeldon -Monday 27th November 2006

McGregor/Balanchine/Wheeldon -Monday 27th November 2006

Well I went to see the Triple Bill last night and after having read many comments on here, was very intrigued by the evening I was about to watch. I am going to speak about Chroma last as it was my favourite of the pieces.

After Chroma, the Balanchine seemed quite sensible but nevertheless the dancing I thought was superb with the principals dancing with a real understanding of the choreography and the music. I noted also that the corps girls were dancing very well together and in sync which really made the work as effective as it should be. This is not something I feel that I should have to mention but sometimes the timing of dancers is not always precise so is quite noticeable when it does happen.
I enjoyed Edward Watson's variation the most with the four girls, it was a very musical and thoughful performance.

With Wheeldon's DGV I did enjoy the piece and agree that it is a good company piece for the RB to have in their repertoire. I didn't have a programme for tonight so am not sure about this whole train/plane wreck business but I took the work to be abstract and I thought Wheeldon did a really good job with the company as a whole. I thought the corps work was superb and very original but I didn't feel that the pas de deux work, althought brilliantly realised by the dancers, was paticularly good. There were some nice touches but I felt he could have made better use of Darcey and Zenaida as they seemed to pull more out the choreography than was really there.
However I found the work as a whole extremely effective and enjoyable to watch. The music was relentless and when the drums kick in at the end it was very exciting.

There has been a lot of hype about Chroma both in the press and on message boards, such as here, so I wasn't sure if it was going to live up to the hype or not but "My God!" it absolutley did for me!!!
I was sat on the edge of my seat from the exhilerating opening right through to the end and loved every minute of it. There was such a buzz in the atmosphere and the set, music, lighting, costumes and dancing all came together perfectly.

The music was so exciting and driven and really propelled the dancing on stage.

Having seen the John Ross photos on here I wasn't sure if I liked the costumes but having seen them with the whole package I thought they really worked.

There is no doubt about it but the dancing in this piece was exceptional from ALL the ten dancers. They each brought in and added their own element to the piece right from the principal dancers down to the artists of the company.

What I found interesting though is that there seemed to be different ways of displaying McGregor's choreography. Some dancers danced the steps but did so in quite a balletic fashion with moves rounded off nicely and it all being very clean; whereas others seemed to throw themselves into it a lot more and create a certain rawness and realness to their dancing.
I noticed that in a lot of the press reviews that most of the people mentioned fell into the former category which is understandable given we're watching a ballet company but I personally prefered the movements of the younger men in the company (the pas de trois for instance and other parts) as well as Lauren's pas de deux and solo which showed an edginess to the dancing and more freedom outside their ballet technique.

I have to restate that I found all the dancers amazing in this piece but these people stood out to me for diferent reasons than perhaps other people have posted on here.

All in all though the piece was a real joy to watch and the most exciting thing I have ever seen at the Royal Ballet and along with the good old favourites and more modern repertoire, I hope they keep this piece for future performances and I also hope that they bring McGregor back in to do some more works.

This whole triple bill was obviously a bit of a gamble for the Opera House, hence the five shows, but it really has paid off and I look forward to seeing these pieces again scheduled in seperate bills in the future.

Congratualtions to the Royal Ballet for a fantastic opening season, TOP FORM!!!

Author:  Cassandra [ Tue Nov 28, 2006 10:11 am ]
Post subject: 

With Wheeldon's DGV I did enjoy the piece and agree that it is a good company piece for the RB to have in their repertoire. I didn't have a programme for tonight so am not sure about this whole train/plane wreck business but I took the work to be abstract

Me too, the train link is that Nyman's score was originally written as a soundtrack for an ad about the French railway, I think it a bit unwise to read anything else into it. As I said above, on first hearing it the music doesn't immediately put you in mind of trains.

This programme has been massively successful and totally sold out for the short run.

Author:  PB2003 [ Tue Nov 28, 2006 10:25 am ]
Post subject: 

Yes, I knew about the music but some reviews have mentioned that the set looks like a plane/train wreck with the corps representing commuters and when they crawl out from under the "train" they are dead or such like. As I said before I'm not sure that any of this was in the piece.

What did you think to Chroma and the dancing?

Author:  AnaM [ Thu Dec 14, 2006 11:17 am ]
Post subject: 

Royal Ballet Triple Bill
Royal Opera House, London
Wednesday 19 November 2006

The Royal Ballet presented a programme of two new choreographies and a revival of George Balanchine’s “Four Temperaments” as part of their season.

The first piece was Wayne McGregor’s “Chroma”. It was a very good piece, full of dynamism, interesting choreographic progressions and developments, and non stop movement vocabulary the dancers seemed to really enjoy. While watching the piece I got the impression that, finally, the Royal Ballet was entering the 21st century. It has been a long time since the company has actually succeeded in commissioning a piece that challenged and, at the same time, showcased the dancers. Though not a masterpiece or even a groundbreaking work, "Chroma" was a very successful new ballet.

The programme continued with “Four Temperaments”. Unfortunately, the performance I saw left a lot to be desired. There is a tendency in British companies to “interpret” each one of the temperaments and this can become annoying at certain points. The best part of the ballet was the Phlegmatic section, beautifully understated by Ricardo Cervera. Though the company managed to dance in unison and the timing was correct, there was a lack of lustre in the performance that made the ballet look dated in many ways… which was sad.

The programme closed with Christopher Wheeldon’s “DGV” (Danse a Grand Vitesse). Once again, the dynamism from the opening piece seemed to return to the dancers who loved every moment and evolution of the piece. Generally, it was a good piece, a well crafted work. There were many occasions when one could see references to Robbins’s “Glass Pieces” and “In G Major”, but there is nothing wrong with this, in fact it shows that Wheeldon has very strong influences. Amongst the cast, I would single out Marianela Nuñez, who once again, seemed to enjoy every moment on the stage.

To be totally honest, it was a relief to see the company under a new light, a fresher light and a more modern approach. Having said all this, I think it is worth noting that it has taken the Royal Ballet 20 years to get to the stage other companies like ABT or Paris Opera Ballet have made their own.

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