Royal Ballet Triple Bill, Royal Opera House

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The Independent Culture

The Royal Ballet ends the season by putting on plenty of stars. This programme of plotless ballets has a lot of leading roles – and though injury and illness forced several cast changes, the dancers have been switched to good effect. The company looks strong and happy throughout.

Wayne McGregor's Chroma was an instant hit in 2006, the ballet that got McGregor the job of Royal Ballet choreographer. It's a confident, swaggering work. Joby Talbot's music has driving rhythms and blaring James Bond brass.

Framed by John Pawson's big, plain white set, the 10 dancers plunge into extreme positions, dipping and winding around each other. There are McGregor tics here – the jutting bottoms and wrenching extensions – but he also creates individual roles for dancers to get their teeth into. This revival isn't quite at full stretch, though it's still a bold performance. Ricardo Cervera and Laura Morera give pugnacious performances; Eric Underwood is utterly assured.

Christopher Wheeldon's Tryst, created in 2002, looks genteel by comparison. It sounds good, with composer James MacMillan bringing out the smoky atmosphere and crisp patterns of his own score. Though Wheeldon responds vividly to some of this music, he's filling in time for other sections. The central duet is the most memorable; Melissa Hamilton and Eric Underwood stalk elegantly through their meeting.

If Tryst can't quite fill its music, Balanchine's glorious Symphony in C finds infinite variety within its classical frame. Each movement of Bizet's score has a new ballerina. Sarah Lamb's delicate musical timing lights up the first movement, with Marianela Nuñez dreamily open in the second. Yuhui Choe and Sergei Polunin are light and gleeful in the third, while Laura Morera leads the last movement with verve and attack. It's an exuberant ending to a lively triple bill.



To 11 June (020 7304 4000)

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