Dance GB, Theatre Royal, Glasgow
Is ballet a sport? Of course it’s not, in the competitive sense, although the physicality and athleticism on the bill for Dance GB, a three-way collaboration between Scottish Ballet, National Dance Company Wales and English National Ballet to celebrate the forthcoming Olympics, would surely impress any national selectors.
Scottish Ballet is brilliant at making technically demanding repertoire look fluid and effortless. Here its supreme team, kitted out in navy gym knickers and diaphanous tracksuit tops that showed the flex of every muscle, left us in no doubt that Run For It was a fiendishly difficult piece.
Martin Lawrance set them to work on John Adams’ choppy Son of Chamber Symphony, beneath an imposing geometric tree designed by the Turner prize-winner Martin Boyce. The dancers had to push hard to compete with the tree, which changed from blue to orange as the dance progressed and would happily stand as an Olympic-standard artwork all on its own. They did, with Eve Mutso’s burning-eyed energy standing out.
Run for It was an exhausting, abstract blur of athletic themes. The Welsh piece, Dream, was a sweetly nostalgic crowd-pleaser, starting off at a bunting-strewn sports day and developing into a charming romp through the shortened Olympic syllabus. Lasses in tea dresses and chaps in demob suits went from the egg and spoon race to synchronised swimming in a hugely witty and enjoyable love letter to the days when it was possible to get hot and sweaty without involving the Nike swoosh. As the activities became more intense, and Ravel’s Bolero built to a climax, their clothes came off. Men rolled up their trousers to dance in their sock suspenders. Five girls in modesty vests formed their arms into the Olympic rings
Itzik Galili’s And the Earth Shall Bear Again had the slick hard edges of a futuristic opening ceremony. Rows of spotlights and dry ice highlighted the technical brilliance of the massed troops of English National Ballet, while obscuring their faces. Galili, who is also a lighting designer, used John Cage’s harsh, clangy prepared piano music to add to the mechanistic notes in the movements, pushing the famously accomplished ENB to their limits. And although it was a fine team effort Junor Souza’s preternaturally long legs, lifted to brilliant effect, were memorable even through the mist.
To 23 June (0844 871 7647); then touring to Cardiff and London to 8 July (www.dancegb.co.uk)
tv Review: Miranda Hart and co deliver the festive goods
tvReview: Older generation get hot under the collar this Christmas
comedy Erm...he seems to be back
tvReview: No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa
tv Gymnast Louis Smith triumphed in the Christmas special
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 PlayStation and Xbox hacked by Lizard Squad
- 2 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 3 British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
- 4 Vagina canoe artist defends herself over ‘obscenity’ charges
- 5 The Queen’s speech 2014: Recap and Twitter reaction to Game of Thrones reference
EastEnders Christmas special, review: Brilliant Danny Dyer glues you to your seat
Felicity Jones on being Stephen Hawking's wife in The Theory of Everything: 'I didn't want her to be a saint'
Game of Thrones season five: First preview clip shows a beardy Tyrion, a moody Cersei and a distressed Arya
Doctor Who series 9: Jenna Coleman staying on for whole season as Clara Oswald
The Interview finally gets US release after Sony hack and terror threats – but reviews of North Korea satire are mixed
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader