Thursday, 14 May 2015

Northen Ballet: Mixed Programme (On behalf of The Public Reviews)

This review was originally written for The Public Reviews and the review can be accessed here.

Photo Credit: Emma Kauldhar (Accessed from The Public Reviews (

Award winning Northern Ballet begins their mixed programme with Jonathan Watkins’ Northern Trilogywhich was created for the Northern Ballet’s 45th Anniversary Sapphire Gala in March 2015. The work celebrates the Northern spirit and its traditions in monologues.  It is reflective with Stan Holloway’s abstract and comical audio which the dancers interpret to.  They physically share how a ‘Yorkshire Puddin’ is made; celebrate Soldier Samuel Small’s Birthday; and relive seaside tales of Albert and his fateful encounter with a lion. The audience no doubt is familiar with the dialect and the northern references with locations such as Ilkley Moor and Blackpool.
Following Northern Trilogy is Daniel de Andrade’s Fatal Kiss.   Astor Piazzola’s Otoño Porteño is chosen for this piece. The story is about a man who reluctantly comes to terms with meeting his death, through a kiss, in Buenos Aires. The Pas de Deux is danced dramatically and provocatively, as is Piazzola’s music in a form a tango, which is danced beautifully and passionately by Lucia Solari and Javier Torres.
Little Monsters is based on three songs by Elvis Presley including Love Me Tender and Are You Lonesome Tonight? Two dancers, Dreda Blow and Joseph Taylor, physically explore and emotively express the joy of falling in love to the pain of separating when the lovers go their separate ways. There are some excellent close, synchronised and parallel movements in the dancing linking with Demis Volpi’s choreography.
The classical Perpetuum Mobile is danced to JS Bach’s Violin Concerto in E Major. The place does not have a narrative structure as such instead emphasis on the composer’s music.  Christopher Hampson wants the focus shifted on the composition by creating and layering the movements in the ballet.  There is a continuous flow of physical movements by the dancers with no pauses throughout; instead an overflow of dances appearing from the stage’s wings covers the music’s section from one stage to another.  The dancers are certainly ‘lost’ in Bach’s concerto including the music’s tempo as shown in the dancing.  A reflective and beautiful piece of work blessed with imaginative choreography.
The final piece is Kenneth Tindall’s Architect.  This contemporary work is inspired and based from the biblical story of Adam and Eve. The clever use of Alastair West’s lighting and Christopher Giles’ staging are used to narrate Adam and Eve’s existence in the Garden of Eden from the creation element, eating of the forbidden fruit and to their fateful ends.   A variety of music from Zoe Keating Remix, Olafur Arnalds, Kerry Muzzy and the Balanescu quartet is played and danced by the company artists who interpret the story’s stages with thorough connectivity, synchronisation and intricacy.
A well chosen diverse programme and one has to admire the breathtaking, soft and colourful lighting and staging used for the works.  Five pieces represent the contemporary world and existence one lives in and yet it beautifully and significantly connects with one’s spiritual and emotive reflections.

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