Scottish Ballet, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

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The Independent Culture

Named Geometry and Grace, Scottish Ballet's mixed bill goes from the spiky classicism of Frederick Ashton's Scènes de Ballet to a brand new work by Val Caniparoli. It's a strongly danced, contrasting programme.

Caniparoli's Still Life opens with paper – plain sheets on wires, flapping like origami birds as a dancer flies them overhead. Dancers appear through Lucy Carter's murky lighting. Sandra Woodall clothes the women in bronze dresses, the men in black robes. The music is by Elena Kats-Chemin. Piano and strings chirrup up and down, in insistent rhythms.

At first, the work is full of long, soft phrases, the dancers flowing into circle patterns. Still Life's best moment is a floating exit. Carried by their partners, the women stretch their arms and torsos, a ripple through the body that suggests the back and beating wings of a bird in flight.

Now dressed in leotards or shorts, the dancers plunge into more acrobatic steps. The women throw their legs into extreme extensions, winding themselves around their partners.

Caniparoli's choreography could be more individual. Still Life does show off the company, with big, fierce dancing from Eve Mutso, and feline elegance from Sophie Martin.

Scottish Ballet first danced Scènes de Ballet in 2009. A year on, they're much more at home with Ashton's demanding dances. Dressed in their geometric tutus, with 1940s hats, the women look chic and crisp and dotty. They bounce into springy jumps, almost on the spot – but as they bounce, the pattern moves, circles turning into grids turning into diamonds. There are rough edges among the male soloist.

Tomomi Sato is dainty in the ballerina role, with a real sense of pleasure in her smoky-armed solo. She reaches and curls her arms, twisting her wrists to show off her bracelets, tapping her feet as she dips into a deeper lunge. There's a playful quality to those changing shapes, in her response to Stravinsky's music .

Fearful Symmetries, created by Ashley Page, follows the driving pulse of its John Adams score. Erik Cavallari dives through the role created for Irek Mukhamedov – he's less of a powerhouse, but smooth and committed. Sato, Martin and Mutso are confident in the three ballerina roles.





Tour continues to 9 October ( www.scottishballet.co.uk)

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