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Jan McNulty

New English Ballet Theatre - Dancing for Nepal

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I was in London yesterday afternoon to see the matinee of NEBT's Dancing for Nepal programme, and what a delightful afternoon it was.  The performances were in the bijoux St James Theatre near Victoria and it seemed to be ideal for smaller ballet/dance performances.  The bar area was spacious and very pleasant and the food looked good too.


The afternoon comprised 7 dance pieces and two short films.


The opening piece was Tangents for 3 couples.  Lyrical and elegant with a gorgeous virtuoso solo for Gyorgy Baan.  It was also a treat to see Josh Barwick back guesting with the company for these special performances.


We then saw a short film by Camille Summers-Valli that juxtaposed some scenes of recovery work in Nepal with NEBT dancers preparing for class/rehearsal.


We then saw Toca, a lovely almost melancholy duet.  According to the programme it is based on a novel called The Maias about a brother and sister who are parted when they are very young and then meeting years later and falling in love not realising they are siblings.  It was danced with beauty and poignancy by Alessia Lugoboni and Paul Oliver.


Crystal Ballet's short film featured 3 of the choreographers talking about their works.


The first half was completed by Kristen McNally's quirky, fun Mad Women for 5 ladies and 2 pizza delivery men!  As one of the pizza men was walked off the stage by one of the young ladies (for what I could not say!) the other (Gyorgy Baan) had a fun, flirtatious duet with Alexandra Cameron-Martin.


The second half started with a short speech about the Nepal Earthquake Recovery Appeal (NERA).


The first danced piece was a flirtatious duet - Wundarra.


Then we had 2 guest items.  The first was a solo - Prometheus - for David Donnelly from the Royal Ballet.


This was followed by another duet called La Llorona for Maria Borroso and Teo Dubreuil from the Royal Ballet.  It is about two young lovers who are discovering what love and passion means to them.  I loved it!


The afternoon was completed by Valentino Zucchetti's Orbital Motion for the whole company.  Lots of lovely swirling movements complemented by the Philip Glass score.  It was danced with verve and enjoyment by the dancers, but for the only time in the afternoon the stage looked a little too small.  I would love to see this again on a larger stage.


So not only an enjoyable afternoon of interesting works all new to me, but danced in aid of a very worth-while cause.


It was lovely to meet JulieW, Aileen and Bill Boyd too.



You can still donate to the appeal here.  More information on the appeal here.



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As Janet has indicated, there was a lot of interest in this programme, helped by the variety of music used, including some Aboriginal music for Wundarra which worked really well. I enjoyed the performance a lot and was impressed by the steep rake in the theatre. As Janet has said, the 'stage' (which was at ground level) was a little small for more than half a dozen dancers, which did affect Orbital Motion (Zucchetti) which had a cast of ten dancers. I thought that it would have been more helpful for Crystal Ballet's film to have been shown earlier in the programme and before all the works featured in the film were performed.


I've hesitated before posting on this performance because I don't want to offend anyone but on reading the biographies for the dancers I was surprised how much professional experience most of the cast had. For example, one had danced with the RB for two years before dancing with several other companies and another had recently danced the lead role in a touring professional production. Obviously, I'm very happy for any highly trained dancer to get work and be paid for it but I had understood that the remit of NEBT was to give inexperienced (which I took to be recent graduate) dancers their first professional opportunities with a view to them securing a longer or permanent contract with another company on the back of the exposure and experience gained from performing with NEBT for a season or two. Now, it's possible that the cast used for the gala was different to the one used for the earlier performances this season or a lot of injuries have necessitated the company bringing in more experienced dancers at short notice (I know of one) and that either of these things accounts for the (fairly substantial) experience of the dancers featured.


Kevin O'Hare was sitting in the row in front of me. I wonder if anyone caught his eye.

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