LAST EDITED ON 08-06-02 AT 09:46 AM (GMT)
I attended a performance of NBT's 'I Got Rhythm' on Thursday 6th June at Canterbury's Marlowe Theatre. I also attended a short Q&A session in the morning and then watched company class.
The barre was a very simple one - could have done it myself. They began with demi plies (often quite painful if you were hard on your body the day before) and progressed to full plies. I was suprised that the dancers chose which position to do their plies in. I hate doing them in the second position, but it's good for me and I certainly wouldn't do a class without them. Overall, I found the barre work un-disciplined.
In the centre the dancers only did virtuouso work, and no adage. I hope that they alternate and that adage is not neglected in this company. I was suprised to find that many of the woman could not manage a double pirouette en dedans. The turns of Hironao Takahashi (it was his birthday!) were partularly good.
I was extremely dissapointed and unimpressed with 'I got Rhythm'. After reading the Guardian review, which awarded the show five stars, I expected something good.
The ballet is danced to Gershwin's music and from the beginning I found it quite uninspired. The choreographer, David Nixon, didn't make use of the dancer's individual technical skills (I also noticed this when I saw 'A Christmas Carol' at Leeds in January.) There were flexed feet for no apparent reason. Flexed feet and Gershwin? Not exactly slick. There was a dance to 'I Got Plenty O' Nuttin' which was reminiscent of Ashton, apart from the fact that it wasn't Ashton and had non of Ashton's charm. However, the dancer, Christian Broomhall, was good throughout the evening. The show ended with a can-can type number and the whole thing was more cabaret in pointe shoes than ballet, and went on for far too long
There were some good points, but they certainly didn't outweigh the bad: The dance to 'My Man's Gone Now' was done in flat shoes and was emotional and moving. The set was wonderful, although I wasn't keen on most of the costumes. The thirty-strong orchestra played on stage and were excellent in my opinion. In fact, I often found myself watching the conductor, who danced more energetically and with much more rhythm and enjoyment than most of the dancers. The twenty-three year old pianist, Jonathan Scott, was absolutely marvellous. At the end, after the first round of applause, he and the conductor danced with the cast.
But overall, I didn't enjoy it (although most of the audience did greatly) and wouldn't really recommend it unless you've nothing else to do and haven't got a long trip to make to see it.