CriticalDance Forum

Scottish Ballet 2009-10
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Author:  David [ Fri Oct 02, 2009 7:44 am ]
Post subject:  Scottish Ballet 2009-10

Rubies, Workwithinwork, In Light and Shadow
Scottish Ballet
Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London; October 1, 2009

Oh joy! An evening of dance that was bright, up beat, and that sent you away truly happy with life. What is more, there were no deep impenetrable, philosophical essays in the programme about the meaning of the works on show - always a bad sign. It is good to be challenged, but every now and then you need something a little lighter, easy on the ear and easy on the eye. Scottish Ballet certainly provided that on their latest visit to London.

Given that the company is celebrating its 40th anniversary, what could be a more appropriate opener than George Balanchine’s “Rubies”? And how nice to see it danced on a stage devoid of unnecessary clutter such as pillars or ghastly giant gems dangling from above. The whole cast looked like they were enjoying themselves. They were appropriately light and bouncy, and pranced around the stage like red horses, although some of the more quirky movement from the corps in particular seemed occasionally muted and restrained. While luscious, and indeed confident, Vassilissa Levtonova as the tall, odd girl out was equally missing some of the out and out crisp spikiness that ballet really needs. No such problems from Sophie Martin and Adam Blyde as the lead couple, who showed excellent wit, timing and sensitivity to one another.

For the non-William Forsythe devotee, “Workwithinwork” is one of his more accessible ballets. Danced to Luciano Berio’s Duetti for two violins, it brings together each dancer’s classical training with a sort of conversational playfulness. It is possible to sense the improvisation that the piece is based on, as the dancers feed off one another, the stage space and the music. A series of fluid, often brief, duets and trios feature much twisting and winding movement using the whole body. Occasionally it gets quite angular, the dancers looking like wooden puppets, but where the puppeteer has lost control of the strings.

Krzysztof Pastor’s “In Light and Shadow” rounded the evening off with a complete change of mood. According to Pastor the ballet was part-inspired by a range of Baroque painters including Vermeer, Rembrandt and La Tour and the interplay of light and shadow. That is as may be, but what comes over loud and clear is his rich response to Bach’s music.

Pastor, currently Resident Choreographer at Dutch National Ballet, opens with an expressive and beautiful duet to the aria from Goldberg Variations. On a dimly lit stage, with Tatyana van Walsum’s striking set of dark grey slabs leaning downstage towards the audience, Sophie Martin and Adam Blyde showed a very different, but no less effective, relationship to that in “Rubies”. Here, everything was subtle, understated and danced with fine control. It was quite bewitching.

The end of the duet is signalled by the arrival of the other 16 dancers, all individually dressed in vibrant colours. As light bursts through cracks in the set, the work soon opens out into a series of solos, duets and ensemble work to Bach’s Third Orchestral Suite. In the latter the dancers move around the stage in constantly changing patterns. The dances echo Baroque courtliness but this is a ballet far from being stuck in the past. The movement is light, quick, contemporary and full of energy. There are lots of swivelling, wiggling hips and fluttering arms among the classical steps. The dancers flirt and play with each other as they combine the precision of classical ballet with the individualism and expression of American modern dance. Best of all were Tomomi Sato in the Air, and Martina Forioso and Luke Ahmet in the Gavotte. “In Light and Shadow” is one of those wonderful feel-good pieces that not only looks fun to dance, it is appealing and fun to watch.

The whole evening sparkled. The company has improved immeasurably under Ashley Page and, on this showing, continues to do so. I can understand why Scotland would want to keep these dancers all to itself, but it really would be nice to see them come south more often, and to places other than London.

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Fri Oct 02, 2009 3:20 pm ]
Post subject: 

Thank you, David, for the first hand report!

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sun Oct 04, 2009 7:57 am ]
Post subject: 

I saw this programme on 3rd October and shared David's enthusiasm. All the pieces worked well; the Scottish Ballet dancers never "just do the steps" but nearly always put their own stamp on the choreography.

This was the first live Krystof Pastor piece I have seen - hats off to Scottish Ballet for introducing this choreographer, one of the most successful currently making ballet in Europe, to UK audiences. I enjoyed "In Light and Shadow", but compared with a couple of DVDs of his work I have seen, this was more in a neo-classical style than the others.

One point about Pastor, as well as remaining resident choreographer at DNB, in March 2009 he was appointed as director to the Polish National Ballet, in Warsaw.

Also a plus for Scottish was bringing the fascinating "Workwithinwork", rapidly becoming a staple for several continental ballet companies, but unseen to date in the UK before Scottish introduced it.

Author:  ksneds [ Sat Jan 23, 2010 2:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Scottish Ballet 2009-10


Scottish Ballet dancer Paul Liburd was today awarded the Dancing Times Best Male Dancer Award at the prestigious Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards.

The awards celebrate the vigour and variety of Britain’s thriving dance culture. They are the only professional awards in the UK dedicated to dance and are presented by the Dance Section of the Critics’ Circle, which brings together more than 50 dance writers.

Celebrating ten years this year, the awards have rapidly become the dance event of the year drawing together the entire industry in sharing the very best of dance and ballet in the UK. The awards were announced this afternoon, in a ceremony at the Royal Opera House in, London.

Paul joined Scottish Ballet in 2004, and was previously awarded the Critics’ Circle National Dance Award for Best Male Dancer (Contemporary) in 2005. Last year Paul received the MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours for services to dance. This most recent award however comes as a fitting tribute to Paul, who will retire from the Company this year following his last performances with Scottish Ballet in Krzysztof Pastor’s critically acclaimed Romeo and Juliet which tours to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Inverness and Belfast throughout April and May.

Company Artistic Director Ashley Page said: “We are absolutely delighted and thrilled that Paul’s timeless commitment and unique stage presence have been recognised in this way. It has been a privilege to work with such an incredible dancer and a truly lovely man and I wish him every success with future endeavours.”

Paul is currently performing in Ashley Page’s The Nutcracker on tour to Inverness, Aberdeen and Newcastle.

Scottish Ballet was also nominated in the category of Outstanding Company and dancer Martina Foriso received a nomination for Best Female Dancer (Classical). Scottish Ballet was previously awarded the Company Prize for Outstanding Repertoire (Classical) in 2007.

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Thu Apr 15, 2010 3:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Scottish Ballet 2009-10

Scottish Ballet opens a revival of Krzysztov Pastor's "Romeo and Juliet" in Glasgow on April 17, 2010. In The Times, Anna Burnside talks to Tomomi Sato as she prepares for the role of Juliet.

The Times

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Scottish Ballet 2009-10

In the UK, we often see little of the current leading lights of Continental European ballet choreography. Thus, hats off to Scottish Ballet for bringing Krzysztov Pastor's "R&J" to UK audiences.

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Mon Apr 19, 2010 2:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Scottish Ballet 2009-10

Mary Brennan reviews Scottish Ballet's "Romeo and Juliet" in The Herald.

The Herald

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Thu Apr 22, 2010 12:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Scottish Ballet 2009-10

Mark Brown reviews "Romeo and Juliet" in The Telegraph.

The Telegraph

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Sat Apr 24, 2010 5:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Scottish Ballet 2009-10

Scottish Ballet will be performing "Romeo and Juliet" in Edinburgh, Wednesday through Saturday, April 28 through May 1, 2010. Barry Gordon previews the performance in the Edinburgh Evening News.

Edinburgh Evening News

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Tue May 11, 2010 2:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Scottish Ballet 2009-10

Thom Dibdin reviews an Edinburgh performance of "Romeo and Juliet" for The Stage.

The Stage

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