Louise Levene on dance

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
Are you a ballet ignoramus? Do you fail to tell your arabesque from your elbow? Don't despair. Go to Birmingham. And stay there till Saturday fortnight by which time you will have seen Birmingham Royal Ballet perform three three-act ballets (in a week) plus a dazzling selection of one-act pieces (Enigma Variations, Las Hermanas and Choreartium) displaying the range of 20th-century choreography. It's not the first time a ballet company has staged three full-length works in a week: barnstorming visiting companies do it all the time. The huge difference here is that every one of BRB's major productions is a glowing example of how to stage a classic in a production that honours its traditions without serving them in aspic.

Sir Peter Wright, retiring director of the company, leaves Birmingham Royal Ballet with sumptuous ballets that honour the 19th century while celebrating the design talents of the 20th. The dancers aren't bad either - how else could they dance Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and Coppelia (below left) in six days? Miyako Yoshida, a dancer of vivacious grace, makes some of her last Birmingham performances before joining the Royal Ballet in the autumn. She dances Aurora on Monday and Odette/Odile on Thursday. Meanwhile Joseph Cipolla, obviously a masochist, is dancing Florimund on Tuesday, Siegfried on Wednesday and Franz on Saturday. And you thought patting your head and rubbing your tummy at the same time was difficult.

three to see

London City Ballet: Highly acclaimed production of the romantic tale of the jilted country girl and her faithless aristocratic lover. Kings Theatre, Glasgow

Karas. Noiject: Rigorous physical discipline from the one-man cult Seburo Teshigawara. Queen Elizabeth Hall, South Bank Centre

NDT2: The junior wing of Jiri Kylian's Nederlands Dance Theater comes to London. Sadler's Wells

Comments