Beyond Ballets Russes 2, London Coliseum
Thursday 29 March 2012
English National Ballet’s second Beyond Ballets Russes programme goes from the lucid beauty of Apollo to the fireworks of Suite en blanc, with some unexpected novelty in the middle. This is a company on confident form.
It’s been subject to some upheavals. Toer van Schayk’s planned new version of Ode – a lost 1920s ballet that was groundbreaking in its use of film and lighting – had to be abandoned for personal reasons. In its place, company director Wayne Eagling staged a solo from another 1920s ballet, Le Train Bleu, and his own new version of Jeux. The cheers that greeted Eagling’s Jeux suggested personal support. He will step down as director at the end of this season, an unexpected decision that has caused controversy.
His Jeux is literally a mixture. Nijinsky’s original ballet is lost. This version draws on photographs and on the sequences Kenneth MacMillan choreographed for the 1978 movie Nijinsky. Eagling sets all this in a rehearsal studio, with a framework of Nijinsky creating the ballet. It’s a slight work, with dancers waving tennis racquets or watching each other in involved trios. There are some appealing, darting moves for the women, in chic 1920s sports dresses. Gavin Sutherland conduct’s Debussy’s lovely score.
Vadim Muntagirov bounds through the very jolly solo from Le Train Bleu, Nijinska’s response to the sporting 1920s. Dressed in a bathing costume designed by Chanel, he turns cartwheels with and without hands, dips into a diving pose and whirls onwards.
The evening opened with a fine account of Balanchine’s Apollo. Zdenek Konvalina, a very elegant dancer, plays the young god with smooth lines and intelligent phrasing. He’s matched by Daria Klimentová’s Terpsichore, danced with clarity and warmth.
Serge Lifar, one of the stars of the original Ballets Russes, went on to create Suite en blanc in 1943. It’s a classical showcase, stuffed with solo roles and opportunities for display. Muntagirov, Laurretta Summerscales and Ken Saruhashi shine in the pas de trois, buoyant and quick. Nancy Osbaldestone boings through the pas de cinq, matched by her four cavaliers.
Elena Glurdjidze is outstanding in the “Cigarette” solo, with curling, floating arms and grand authority. Lifar’s view of classicism features academic steps and lots of chic, with dancers tilting flirtatiously into slanting poses. In the pas de deux, Erina Takahashi leans against Konvalina, tipped sideways without turning a hair. The company dive into Lifar's grand finale, ending the evening with a flourish.
Until 1 April. Box office 0871 911 0200
Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'music
Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Mario Balotelli: Staff at arson-hit Manchester Dogs' Home convinced Liverpool striker is behind five-figure donation
- 2 Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 The response to my Pizza Express review has been overwhelming, and taught me a lot about journalism
- 5 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned into a PR disaster
Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams cast in Channel 4 drama about cyber bullying
Jennifer Lopez and Iggy Azalea's 'Booty' music video is just a load of butts
Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written
The Walking Dead season 5 synopsis: Spoilers and existential questions revealed
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God