A fine Balanchine act
By Jann Parry for The Observer
For the first time in two decades, Scottish Ballet was invited to perform this year at the Edinburgh Festival. They marked the momentous occasion with an all-Balanchine bill designed to demonstrate how this company has matured under Ashley Page's direction. It's now a modern ballet ensemble, an eclectic mix of dancers from different backgrounds. Acquiring a Balanchine repertoire has licked them into shape, aided by Patricia Neary, who mounts the ballets with a rigour that includes the conductor as well as the dancers.
Nicholas Kok was in charge of the Scottish Chamber orchestra, playing Stravinsky and Webern at ballet rather than concert tempi. No indulgence is required: in these works, the dancers on stage are as much a part of the music as players in the pit. Scottish Ballet may not have the calibre of soloists likely to be invited to join Balanchine's New York City Ballet (as Dutch Ballet's Sofiane Sylve has) but by doing justice to his choreography their triple bill was a knockout.
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A Balanchine act
Scottish Ballet’s festival programme was a triumphant return to form, says David Dougill for The Sunday Times
For its big ballet events, the Edinburgh Festival has regularly drawn on American companies — quite a range of them — and prominent Europeans, such as the Dutch National Ballet (who returned last week). But this year, there was a significant addition, with Scottish Ballet making its first festival appearance in 20 years, dancing a challenging programme of works by Balanchine.
The invitation was an accolade for Ashley Page, who in 2002 took over the directorship of a company in financial and artistic doldrums, recruited new dancers of various nationalities and backgrounds, and over two performing seasons has introduced a new contemporary-classical repertory.
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