The Royal Ballet doesn't get out much. Although the nation's flagship ballet company tours the US and the Far East with alarming regularity, it's been a while since the good people of Plymouth or Manchester saw Darcey Bussell strut her stuff. The budget simply doesn't run to large- scale tours with three-act ballets.
But smaller towns and cities have been more fortunate, with regular doses of Dance Bites, mixed bills that sample the company's one-act repertoire and give established and aspiring young choreographers a showcase for new work. The selection of smaller venues provides a platform that is considerably less threatening that the vast, expectant Covent Garden stage.
This year, Ashley Page, the most senior choreographer on show, offers his Ebony Concerto, a work of bloodless glamour for two couples danced to a "jazz" score composed by Stravinsky for clarinettist Woody Herman. Christopher Wheeldon's Pavane pour une infante defunte is a stylish pas de deux. More pairwork is supplied by Matthew Hart's Cry Baby Kreisler. Hart, who has now left the Royal Ballet to join Rambert, uses Kreisler's Liebesfreud as his score.
Brand-new works include a fresh creation from Ashley Page and pieces by Tom Sapsford, William Tuckett (who also designed the set himself) and Cathy Marston, whose work is accompanied by a tape of the performance artist and composer, Fabienne Audeoud.
EYE ON THE NEW
Meanwhile, in Woking, dance capital of the South, Laurie Booth, improvisation guru, body beautiful and sub-editor's nightmare, unveils his ACT/ual f/ACT/ual. As always, Booth's spare, muscular choreography is complemented by carefully chosen collaborators - this time it's artist Tim Head and DJ Scanner, who creates an eerie sound collage of mixed mobile phone conversations.
Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Woking (01483 769765), 4 Mar, then touringReuse content