Natalia Osipova is taking a break from the day-job as Principal Dancer with The Royal Ballet to try her hand at some contemporary dance routines.
There’s a bit of frisson surrounding this triple-bill performance, as Osipova takes to the stage with ballet’s bad-boy and current boyfriend Sergei Polunin. They are well-matched in terms of talent, with both reaping many awards including receiving Best Male Dancer and Best Female Dancer respectively from the Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards in 2010, Osipova also winning this on two other occasions and Polunin following his with Best Classical Male Dancer in 2011.
The first dance of the evening is Run Mary Run, choreographed by Arthur Pita with music from 60’s girl group The Shangri-Las. In skimpy lime-green mini dress, and beehive hair reminiscent of lead singer Mary Weiss in The Leader of The Pack video, Osipova and Polunin – who gets to play out a James Dean fantasy in white T and jeans – act out a boy-meets-girl love story that descends into drink and drugs destruction. This is compulsive viewing, yet strangely lacks the expected sexual chemistry.
In Qutb Osipova performs with Jason Kittelberger and James O’Hara. This is a strictly contemporary choreography from Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui that sits a little uneasily with Osipova’s residual classical style. Incorporating elements of acrobatics, gymnastics and balancing techniques that would not look out of place in a contemporary circus, the strength, power and fluidity of the two men carry Osipova through.
Back with Polunin for the final dance, Silent Echo choreographed by Russell Maliphant, aims to explore the meeting-point between classical and contemporary styles. This is something of a work in progress as both of these undoubtedly exceptional dancers are still exploring their own limitations with regard to leaving behind the classical and embracing the contemporary. However, there are nonetheless some absolutely breathtaking moments.
There is no denying Osipova’s brilliance as a dancer, nor her charisma and watchability. Despite the fact that these different choreographies do not play to her strengths as a dancer, this performance remains a must-see for dance enthusiasts.
12-14 August, £12-£32