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Ballet Cymru - "Dylan Thomas – A Child’s Christmas, Poems and Tiger Eggs"


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I watched Ballet Cymru's "Dylan Thomas – A Child’s Christmas, Poems and Tiger Eggs " in Leeds last night and I think it is their best show yet.  I have been one of their fans ever since I saw their Romeo a Juliet in 2013 and I was particularly impressed with its revival as well as their Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, TIR and Stuck in the Mud.

 

I have not yet had time to review them in my blog - partly because I shall have to conjure up some fresh superlatives - but I can give an outline report of the show right now.

 

Although it is styled as one ballet I think it would be fairer to describe it as a double bill.   The first part consisted of readings by Cerys Matthews of some of Dylan Thomas's poems including "Do not go gentle into that good night".   That prompted a head to head comparison with Christopher Bruce's work for Scottish Ballet which I reviewed in Terpsichore on 6 Oct 2014.  I liked Bruce's work very much but I much prefer Darius James and Amy Doughty's.  Those poems were interpreted beautifully by all but I was particularly impressed by Krystal Lowe and Beth Meadway. 

 

On Wednesday, Powerhouse Ballet (the amateur company that I am setting up in Yorkshire and the Northwest) hosted a workshop for Ballet Cymru at Yorkshire Dance as I mentioned in the "Doing Dance" section of this website yesterday.  The score that we were invited to interpret was the poem that opened and closed the first act.  The opening was a solo and the close as a group work.  It was great to see it all on stage.

The second act was very different.   It began with a video of primary schoolchildren talking about Christmas and in the case of one child, Eid.   The well known and well-loved sequences of the Child's Christmas were performed.   I loved the cats' scene, the uncles in front of the fire and the arrangement of "Still the Night".   As I tweeted last night, this was a work that showcased all the talents of the individual dancers to best advantage.

 

The only desiranda in Leeds was Matthews herself though we heard a recording of her mellifluous voice. Tomorrow she will be on stage in Bangor and two of us who participated in the workshop will see her there.   We shall post a full review in Terpsichore sometime after that.    If you can't make Bangor your last opportunities will be Stroud on 4 Dec and Aberystwyth on 11 Dec. 

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Subscribers and visitors to this website will recall that I was very impressed with Ballet Cymru's performance of Ballet Cymru's Dylan Thomas programme at the Stanley and Audrey Burton Theatre in Leeds last Wednesday.   Yesterday I attended their performance of those works at the Pontio Centre (Bangor University's arts and innovation centre) and was even more impressed. I think there are two reasons for that. The first is that Cerys Matthews and Arun Ghosh were on stage in the first ballet.  The second is that they had a particularly appreciative and responsive audience which included several friends from Powerhouse Ballet who had attended our workshop or Ballet Cymru's company class.

 

I have seen many good shows this year including the Dutch National Ballet's Don Quixote and Giselle, the Royal Ballet's Winter Tale, Swan Lake and Bernstein triple bill, Birmingham Royal Ballet's Romeo and Juliet, ENB's La Sylphide, Swan Lake and Manon, Scottish Ballet's Highland Fling, Phoenix's Windrush and Ballet Black's double bill but yesterday's show was one of the highlights of my year.

 

I should say a word about the venue.  I had heard a lot about the Centre when I attended the Anglesey Business Show in October.  It was a major investment and was not without its critics.  It is a fine modern building just below the main university buildings. Some excellent shows were advertised.  There is ample parking just across the road and it is a stone's throw from the mainline railway station with direct trains to London and other major cities.  It should do a lot for the economy and cultural life of Northwest Wales.

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