Jump to content
johnross

Ballet Black: triple bill, London, February 2015

Recommended Posts

johnross    454

Ballet Black have started five days at the Linbury Theatre with Mark Bruce's - Second Coming.  Here are a couple of pictures from this afternoon's rehearsal.

 

Ballet%2BBlack%2B2015_067_robinson_alves
 
Cira Robinson - The Serpent and Jose Alves - His Son 
 
Ballet+Black+2015_001_johnson_carr_1000.

 

 Damien Johnson - The Ruler and Kanika Carr - The Angel 

 

More pictures on www.johnrossballetgallery.co.uk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Bruce Wall    2,452

Enjoyed this programme overall.  Didn't much care for the first piece.  I thought Kit Holder's TO FETCH A PAIL OF WATER was more than just a damp squib; it was actually - in the end - rather pretentious.  The audience were decidedly polite in their response.  Very much improved with Tuckett's DEPOUILLEMENT (to Ravel's rich Sonata for Violin and Cello) which was the best piece overall - but as it had been previously performed it seemed to be the most confident in execution.  The Mark Bruce (SECOND COMING) - as ever with this fine talent - showed definite marks of an inspired imagination.  It was wonderful to see the theatre so full in support of this company still so important to the UK's cultural communities.  Wonderful too to see the balletic idiom celebrated throughout. Cira Robinson was imaginatively magnetic in her performances in the latter two pieces.   

Edited by Bruce Wall

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
zxDaveM    3,412

I was at the rehearsal too - so a couple more photos:

 

16497027955_f8090e8ea2_z.jpg
Second Coming (Jose Alves, Cira Robinson)
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

 

16309566030_1ec7e09455_z.jpg
To Fetch a Pail of Water (Kanika Carr, Jacob Wye)
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

 

See more...

Set from DanceTabs: Ballet Black - Mixed bill in the Linbury
Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Coated    967

I probably should have bought a programme to get a synopsis - I liked second coming, but couldn't make head or tail of it. Why was there a were-lion? What did the scarf covered heads signify? I really liked the music choices and atmosphere on stage, but the story remained somewhat sketchy to me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bangorballetboy    2,453

I probably should have bought a programme to get a synopsis - I liked second coming, but couldn't make head or tail of it. Why was there a were-lion? What did the scarf covered heads signify? I really liked the music choices and atmosphere on stage, but the story remained somewhat sketchy to me.

The synopsis was posted on one of the pillars in the Linbury foyer. Only helped a little in understanding, mind, but I thought the Bruce by far the strongest piece of the evening.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jillykins    334

My first visit to Ballet Black and I enjoyed most of the work. First offering to fetch a pail of water was disjointed and I don't really like recorded music. Depouillement was interesting and the girl in white (sorry didn't get name) was elegant lovely lines and beautiful arms. The second coming confused me and I agree with bangorballet boy that it was the strongest of the evening. Some sensational lifts! Overall so good to see so many young people in the audience and to see black dancers suceeding in such challenging works.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Terpsichore    876

 There are nights in the theatre when  magical happens. Several things come together. A receptive audience, The last night of a successful run.  An intimate auditorium. Whether consciously or not the dancers pull out all the stops and give the performances of their lives. That happened last Saturday in The Linbury when Ballet Black danced brilliantly. I have never seen them perform better. Though they always dance well, it is possible that I will never again see them dance as well as they did on Saturday night. 

 

The performance opened with Jacob Wye and Kanika Carr as Jack and Jill in Kit Holder's"To Fetch a Pail of Water". Except there was no pail and no water.  They fell perhaps but not physically. Coyly dressed as 1950s teenagers - Carr in a tartan skirt like an American co-ed - this was a sweet story (well I thought so though Holder refers to a dark coded meaning in his notes) - of lost innocence. It was an interesting choice of music: Mother McKnight, Nostalgic Oblong and Skyward Bruise Descent by Clark.

 

The next piece was Depouillement by Will Tuckett. It was a YouTube video of an earlier version of  that work which had attracted me to Ballet Black long before I saw them on the stage.. The piece I saw on Saturday seemed to be different from the one that I knew from YouTube but no less beautiful. Damien Johnson and Cira Robinson who had danced Depouillement in 2009 are thanked by Tuckett for teaching the work to Jose Alves and Isabella Coracy and Christopher Renfurm and Marie-Astrid Mence. Alves, Coracy and Renfurm were already high in my pantheon of dancers and they have risen even higher in my esteem after Saturday's performance but the it was the performance of Mence that most surprised and delighted me. I suppose I had continued to think of her as Anna in Dogs don't do Ballet but she is a strong and expressive classical dancer. I should not have been so surprised as I had seen her on YouTube but I have every right to be delighted.

After Despouillement there was an interval. "Aren't they wonderful" I said to Joshua Royal whom I had seen with MurleyDance. He agreed. The audience was happy and chattering. David Nixon had taught me to recognize what he called "the best sound in the world" 

 

For me the best part of the show was Mark Bruce's Second Coming. This is a complex, mysterious and beautiful work with many layers on meaning that I have not a hope of understanding upon a first viewing. I am sure I will understand it better after I have seen it a few times on tout. My initial impression was that of an initiation ritual of some magical right perhaps from Brazil, or maybe New Orleans or even Haiti. Carr brandished a hoop through which each of the dancers passed - some, apparently. not altogether willingly. There was a powerful and slightly disturbing dance of a man in a lion's mask In a Q&A in the programme notes Mark Bruce writes:

 

There was a lovely bit where Damien Johnson bearing a mandolin seemed to be dancing just for me. I was sitting in the first seat in the front row and our eyes seemed to meet though I didn't think that was possible as I couldn't make out faces in the audience on the one occasion I was on the stage. Strangely it was for he told me so when the audience met the cast in the bar of the Linbury after the show.

There was a pas de deux to Elgar's Cello Concerto in E Minor which had me reaching or a tissue. Partly it was the memory of Jacqueline du Pré but mainly it was the fluidity and delicacy of Cira Robinson's dancing. She is a wonderful dancer. A true ballerina in the strict sense of the word. I exchanged a few words with her too after the show and she is as gracious off the stage as she is when dancing. There were some spectacular turns and jumps which must have been fun to dance, I suggested.  "Yes, so dramatic and different from everything else we have dome before" came the reply. 

The company is taking a break for a few days. The American dancers are going home and I believe that at least some of the English dancers are visiting America. They will be back in Leeds on the 18 and 19 April with Dogs don'r do Ballet where they are now part of our ballet family. Though they have not yet announced details of their tour on their website they will doubtless take this mixed bill on tour. When they do, be sure to see it.

Edited by terpsichore

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Terpsichore    876

 

I was at that show too.

 

Ballet Black danced the mixed programme that I saw at The Linbury on Valentine's day but it was quite a different show. The opening ballet was Kit Holder's To Fetch a Pail of Water. In February it was danced by Jacob Wye and Kanika Carr. I wrote that "this was a sweet story ...... of lost innocence." Well in Nottingham those roles were danced by Damien Johnson and Cira Robinson's who are two of the company's senior artists. They bring gravitas and the darkness to which Holder referred in his programme notes was much easier to notice. This is a text book example of how a change of cast can change a ballet. Now both casts are great and I hope that there will be still be nights when Wye and Carr dance that piece as well as others when we see Johnson and Robinson.

 

Will Tuckett's Depouillement is one of the most beautiful ballets that any company has in its repertoire. In Nottingham it was danced by Alves, Carr, Coracy, Mence, Renfurm and Wye. All of them danced well but my eyes were on Coracy and Renfurm. They were very shrewd hires and they have both blossomed in the company. Coracy was a wonderful Puck in her scout's uniform in Arthur Pita's Dream and Remfurm was an unforgettable Miss Polly. Yesterday they both danced like angels. So did all the others, by the way, but there are sometimes days when individual performers shine and yesterday those two were brilliant.

 

If my eyes were on Renfurm and Coracy in Depouillement they were on Carr in Bruce's Second Coming. With tiny wings protruding from her costume she danced "the angel" - though not one of the heavenly variety who knows how to make Yorkshire pudding  You have to watch Jonathan Watkins Northern Trilogy if you are looking for one of those. Her role is the linchpin of the work. She entered with the hoop through which she made all the initiates pass at the start and end of the ballet. She produced the dagger which the ruler wielded with such menace. One of Carr's strengths is her face which is so expressive. She can convey any emotion though it is mainly charm and wit. She is the company's great character dancer.

 

As in February the highlight of that piece was Johnson's pas de deux with Robinson to Elgar's Cello Concerto. Its beauty brought tears to my eyes then and I had to struggle to hold them back now. Johnson and Robinson are two wonderful dancers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×