The opening night of an inspirational four day dance festival by Scottish Ballet was a double bill: Kenneth MacMillan’s Shakespearian waltz, Sea of Troubles, and Christopher Hampson’s sassy, sparkling Silhouette.
For the premiere of Sea of Troubles in 1988, MacMillan wrote an introduction:
“I have taken as a starting point the effect of the death of Hamlet’s father .. with the appearance of his father’s ghost and Hamlet’s realisation of the need for revenge, his tormented world became a nightmare.”
To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether 'tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles
Many Festival goers may well have seen the Wooster Group's theatrofilm of Hamlet last week, so this is a timely balletic response.
Here the tragic tale of ghosts and guilt is told through short, dark, moody pantomimic scenes of cloaks and crowns. The dramatic plot tends to take over any sense of free flowing waves of movement, shifting in style musically from Webern's sombre strings to a melodic nocturne by Martinu.
Silhouette in contrast is a breath of fresh air, a neo-classical confection of tutus and fairytale romance.
The grand baroque sound of the harpsichord (Poulenc’s Concert Champetre) sets the scene as we are treated to a dazzling display of Degas’ ballerinas in black and white tutus, pirouetting off the canvas on to the stage.
With sliding screens and shadow effects, soloists and neat lines of dancers appear and vanish like magic. Graceful, artistic, witty and cheeky in turn, the emphasis is on poise and precision in every step.
Event: Friday 16th August, 2013. 8pm.