LAST EDITED ON 20-Jul-99 AT 10:12 AM (GMT)
I also saw the Royal Ballet's first triple bill in this summer season at Sadler's Wells, which was reviewed by Lynette Halewood. I saw it on 10 July, and the programme that night included Mark Baldwin's "Towards Poetry" instead of William Tuckett's "Love's Fool" which Lynette saw.
"Towards Poetry" with music by Julian Anderson is in fact my favourite work in this programme. It is more substantial in dance terms than Ashley Page's "Fearful Symmetries", which despite its surging momentum I found a shade trivial.
I first saw MacMillan's "My Brother, My Sisters" back in 1978 when the Stuttgart Ballet performed in the London Coliseum. I don't recall much of that performance however. But I later saw it danced by the Royal Ballet in Covent Garden in the early 1980s led by Wayne Eagling and Bryony Brind. I enjoyed it more then. I find the ballet dated this time round.
"Towards Poetry" is certainly a dazzling showcase for Darcey Bussell, especially in the long pas de deux for her and Inaki Urlezaga towards the end. (Incidentally both were superb in "Giselle" several nights later.) Baldwin's choreography displayed very well Bussell's beautiful legs and feet and her high extensions.
The pas de deux was sustained by many witty images. I found fascinating those off-centre steps which deliberately tested the extremities of the classical vocabulary. Bussell was twisted into many unusual shapes by Urlezaga. She also did some tricky balances on pointe, which reminded me of the Rose Adagaio in "The Sleeping Beauty".
At the end of an earlier section before this pas de deux, there was an interesting passage when Bussell did a supported arabesque on the left of the stage leaning on the shoulders of a female corps dancer, and then repeated this step on the right leaning on the shoulders of a male corps dancer before exiting the stage.
The other leading female dancer was Laura Morera who had a short pas de deux with her cavalier, Campbell McKenzie. Mark Baldwin's inspired choreography also consisted of allegro solos and duets as well, and included some brilliant strokes for the three couples in the corps de ballet.
Altogether this is a fine ballet rooted in the neo-classical Balanchine tradition but with a more contemporary sensibility.