Observations: New Watkins serves up vibrant slices of modern life

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The Independent Culture

If you like your ballet to reflect real life then dancer and choreographer Jonathan Watkins's new work, titled New Watkins, which premieres tonight at the Royal Opera House is for you. It's his first work for the main stage and an intriguing look at five separate modern day "slices of life". There's a young carefree group in the kitchen at a house party who are all living for the moment; a dysfunctional "sofa couple" where the man is constantly focused on the TV, while his girlfriend vies for his attention; an energetic piece inspired by the street culture ritual of shoefiti, where gangs throw trainers over telephone wires to mark territory; a Lost in Translation-style isolated woman in a waiting room and finally, a male commuter who's stuck in a boring routine.

"I wanted to embrace our differences," says the 25 year-old First Artist with the Royal Ballet. "At the heart of the piece is the real contrast between people, but I bring each slice together in the end so there's a harmonious feel, it's a hopeful prediction'. New Watkins plays as part of a triple bill alongside Wayne McGregor's Infra and Rushes – Fragments of a Lost Story by Kim Brandstrup.

New Watkins/Rushes/Infra runs for five performances to 4th March (020 7304 4000; Roh.org.uk)

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