Scottish Ballet Autumn Season 2012 Review
The first season under Scottish Ballet's new Artistic Director, Christopher Hampson launches with a fresh, confident and celebratory style with three distinctively different works from across forty years of contemporary dance.
Summer 2012 and Olympic fever hits Britain. As part of the Cultural Olympiad to integrate sport with the arts, the three national dance companies took part in Dance GB at Greenwich. Scottish Ballet commissioned choreographer Martin Lawrance to create the fast paced “Run for It”, which is now part of this Autumn tour.
The beautifully lit set design is stunning – a tall column and sculpted ceiling installation like a giant mechanical tree frames the stage. John Adams’ Son of Chamber Symphony (performed live by the Scottish Ballet orchestra), provides a pulsating beat as the dancers, dressed in royal blue skin-tight outfits, leap, jump and hurdle with acrobatic twists and turns. Against the background of short, sharp bursts of strings, woodwind and percussion, the ensemble illustrate muscular fitness and the determination of athletes to succeed.
This is a breathtaking combination of design, musical rhythm, physical energy and the seamless grace and pace of balletic movement.
William Forsythe's classy, neo-classical, "Workwithinwork" (1973) is performed to a soundtrack of Duetti for Two Violins by Berio. The strident strings of the music are prominent, leading and dominating the choreogaphy, such that a live performance on stage would have added a magical, dramatic ambience.
Sixteen dancers, dressed in sheer, shimmering leotards, create ad hoc angular shapes, wide arm waves and high kicks, shifting down a gear into slow duets and statuesque pauses. For the entry point of select scenes a dancer strikes a pose, almost losing the sense of free flowing movement. But overall the subtle light and shadow and geometrically-structured choreography fits the dark mood and music as neat as a pair of elegant black evening gloves.
The British love affair with the BBC series Strictly Come Dancing shows a renewed passion for ballroom dancing. Timely then to present this light, bright revival of “5 Tangos” (1977) by the legendary Dutch choreographer Hans Van Manen, the “Mondrian of Dance,” whose work is globally applauded for “the way in which he portrays men and women, human relations and sexuality in his ballets which can aptly be named liberating in every way.”
Men in black and girls in swirling black and red frocks present a dazzling display of the Tango, combining the cool precision of ballet technique with the sensual embrace of La Boca’s romantic street dance. From slick, hip-swaying male solos to neat, leg-entwined duets and a lively Pas de Quatre, the company parade and prance in stylised tempo to the jagged, jazzy tunes of Astor Piazzolla.
Overall for this trio of Dances, 9 Points from the Strictly panel for poise and panache, and a Gold Medal for choreographic excellence.
11 -13 October 2012
Eden Court, Inverness 16 -17 October
His Majesty's, Aberdeen 19 -20 October