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Subject: "Review: Royal Ballet 'The New Works' programme" Archived thread - Read only
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Bruce Madmin

22-06-00, 08:28 AM (GMT)
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"Review: Royal Ballet 'The New Works' programme"
   Company: Royal Ballet
What: The New Works: Sleeping with Audrey, Pavane Pour une Infante Defunte, Acheron's Dream, Masquerade
Where: London, Linbury Studio Theatre
When: 20th June 2000
Future New Works Performances

In short...
A London Dance Bites by another name - newer works, some adventurous, some not, some by choreographers you know, and some not. Out of all this there is something that will probably tickle your fancy and quite possibly something that will drive you mad. But this is a good initiative and deserves the support of all those who want ballet and dance to progress.

At last the promise of some of the other performance spaces in the new Opera House is being realised. The Linbury (and the Studio Upstairs) allow RB to show more experimental or smaller works to a more knowing, if smaller audience. Hopefully the spaces will become the play pens for our future choreographers.

The season shows the work of 9 choreographers and to catch them all you will need to visit at least twice. The umbrella title - The New Works - is deceptive. On the opening night 3 of the 4 pieces were old.

If all this sounds like Dance Bites II then you are probably right!

Ashley Page's 'Sleeping with Audrey' presented the usual funny relationship stuff and included a poem. Ummm.
Christopher Wheeldon's 'Pavane...' is a pdd to a piece of Ravel. You can see it as abstract or as about a Prince and Princess. Seen on the main Covent Garden stage already, it is quite well liked.
Acheron's Dream was the new work, by Matthew Hart to some Aaron Copeland. An Ancient Geeek story of a man, a mother, a wife, and a mistress. The women win (so no change there then!)
Michael Corder's Masquerade is to Stravinsky's buoyant Pulcinella suite. A light piece based on commedia dell'arte characters.

Sets and Costumes:
Things have to be simple to put on in the Linbury - there is no fly tower for example. The Pavane lacked its large lily - a shame. Overall the quality of design was good - from Anthony Ward's vibrant colours for Masquerade to the flowing simplicity of Richard Cuerden's work on Acheron's Dream. This also gets the 'backdrop of the night' award - a highly stylised / abstract landscape that deftly changed colour and mood.

Hart's work seemed at times a looser form of Balanchine's 'Agon' - but that's really talking it up too much. There was a 'man and 3 dames' feel, where they all echoed movements and trailed around in line with him. There is a serious plot but the choreography is quite light in weight. I liked it but others might feel it is of not much consequence. The others have all been reviewed elsewhere, so I'll just say I really do love Masquerade - the best piece of Corder I've seen. And the Wheeldon enchants.

Bussell and Cope danced the Wheeldon - which they premiered nearly 4 years ago - solid, striking performances. Kobborg and Galeazzi led out Masquerade. He is just stunning and it would be worth going just to catch some of his magnificent jumps. It was also nice to see Miyako Yoshida back and dancing again after her injury.

Kenta Kura was the man in the Hart - not long out of the school he looked strong and authorative. His women (Revie, Davies and Nunez) impressed for a first performance and had their lines and spacing pretty much perfect.

Does it work?
Well judged strictly on the 'New Works' title this programme failed, with 3 of the works not new at all. But that's a cheap point - it was a good night with something for everyone I think. Page aside, this is not a shocking contemporary or cutting edge programme - but there are other spaces that do that of course.

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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Review: Royal Ballet 'The New Works' programme cra 25-06-00 1
     RE: Review: Royal Ballet 'The New Works' programme Stuart Sweeney 25-06-00 2

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25-06-00, 08:22 PM (GMT)
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1. "RE: Review: Royal Ballet 'The New Works' programme"
In response to message #0
   I agree with Bruce's point about the "New" Works, but when I saw the first programme on Thursday night, Wheldon's "Pavane..." was replaced by an extract from Wayne McGregor's "Symbiont" with Deborah Bull and Edward Watson. There was more energy and invention in that 10 minutes or so than the rest of the programme put together, I am sorry to say, and I wish I had caught the piece in its entirety in the Clore a few weeks ago. Otherwise, Masquerade was the liveliest part of the evening, and Alina Cojocaru, Laura Morera and Mayuko Maeda were all worth seeing as the three 'solo' girls.

The word around RB circles is that the new Jacopo Godani piece is going to be the real highlight of this season......

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Stuart Sweeney

25-06-00, 11:53 PM (GMT)
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2. "RE: Review: Royal Ballet 'The New Works' programme"
In response to message #1
   LAST EDITED ON 25-06-00 AT 11:59 PM (GMT)

I fully understand cra's comments. The full length 'Symbiont' in The Clore Studio was the most exciting new work I've seen from the RB for some time. Shame that the Linbury Theatre is not large enough to take the full work - something for the main auditorium? Full marks to all involved, especially Deborah Bull, who seems to have been the main protagonist of the Outside In programme that gave us 'Symbiont'.

I'm not sure of all the reasons for the revivals rather than new works, but one is due to the death of Jeremy James.

On another point, I'm told that the Linbury stage is unsprung and is too hard for dancers. I've heard this from 2 sources now, including Monica Mason at a Study Evening. Almost beyond belief!

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