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  1. Logistics were a problem … the auditorium was not opened until 5 minutes before the actual time (presumably due to tech overruns). The Dress Circle bar area had become a crush zone. When the doors were opened, the ushers did not usher, so it took some back and forth to find seats. Consequently the show started very late … I didn’t bother to check … must have been over 20 minutes. This kind of thing happens regularly with one-off shows with limited access to the theatre for tech set-up and rehearsals. There were glitches with lighting and music in places too, and overall there wasn’t enough lighting on the dancers’ faces. It was rather odd to start a show based on male dancers with the curtain rising on a lone female … Fumi Kaneko in Spectre de La Rose! For me, Wheeldon’s ‘Us’ performed by Matthew Ball and Joe Sissens was the highlight of the evening. Well-rehearsed, beautifully danced by both, high on emotional content and interesting choreo. Other pieces worth seeing were Matthew Ball and Luca Acri in Bourne’s white swan duet, Vadim Muntagirov in Nureyev’s Swan Lake lament solo and Matteo Miccini in both his pieces by Clug and Goecke. Vadim’s second solo was a poor choreo imitation of Ashton’s divine ‘Blessed Spirits’, an Bach Adagio chore by by Miroshnichenko. He was dressed the same, also only in white tights. I would not have included it on the same programme. Ivan Putrov himself is in decent classical dancing shape … but the ‘Blessed Spirits’ solo that he performed would have been better by any of the names above. Nice to see him dancing though. Ditto Spectre de La Rose needs a special dancer. Ed Watson was entertaining in his drag queen solo by Arthur Pita. I didn’t find it sat well with an evening that was otherwise focussed on meaningful and serious pieces. Still … it lightened the mood and Ed does grab your attention, deservedly. The rest was a mixed bag. Some too long. Some too samey. It was good to see some younger dancers featured, three from Dutch National Ballet and also Jack Easton (graduate from RBS this summer, now at BRB) in his own interesting choreo. Biggest disappointment was Dmitri Zagrebin from Royal Swedish Ballet … he performed 3 pieces and they were all unmusical. The show ended with Zagrebin in the Lacrymosa solo which Luca Acri had performed so sensitively at the Putrov/Cojocaru Ukraine gala earlier this year. With 20 pieces it was a generous programme … I feel some could have been cut and certainly improved. The evening did feel disjointed, as most galas do. One theme was that more than half of the pieces were performed in tights or shorts … so there were plenty of sculpted torsos and expressive shoulders and arms to admire. Maybe that’s good enough.
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