Dance GB, Theatre Royal, Glasgow
Wednesday 20 June 2012
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)
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Al Pacino on suffering from depression: 'It can last and it's terrifying'
- 2 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 3 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
Jessica Chastain demands Scarlett Johansson-fronted Marvel superhero movie
Downton Abbey series 5 start date revealed: ITV drama to return in late September
Nicki Minaj suffers wardrobe malfunction during MTV VMAs performance with Ariana Grande and Jessie J
How to read Will Self: Unlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
New Netflix releases: Films and TV shows coming in September 2014
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain