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BRB Opposites Attract Programme - Autumn 2012


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Not sure if there is a thread for the triple bill - know I am a week late - but anyway just wanted to say that the matinee was excellent and I loved Take Five - I think the musicality of the dancers and the jazz music combined was great - Carole Ann Millar was fab in the first section and the boys were all wonderful, Jo Caley did a great solo piece and Celine Gittins and Tyrone Singleton perfomed a super duet. Lyric Pieces followed - it was a nice piece but not quite my cup of tea, but it was interesting and unusual to see the dancers changing the set as well as dancing! Grosse Fuge was very good - I was expecting to enjoy this the most but Take Five took the crown this time - a great afternoon:-)

 

 

 

Moved from the Swan Lake thread to this one by Janet McNulty at 21:59 on 6th October 2012

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I like all 3 pieces in this triple bill (David Bintley's Take 5, Jessica Lang's Lyric Pieces and Hans Van Manen's Grosse Fugue) but I wasn't sure if they would work together on the same programme.

 

I saw 2 performances in Birmingham last Thursday and came out very satisfied, thinking that they worked very well together.

 

It's worth going into the auditorium a few minutes early because the jazz musicians for Take 5 are usually having a bit of a jam and it certainly starts the evening with a buzz. Take 5 uses 5 Dave Brubeck pieces and David Bintley matches the action to the music. I particularly like Flying Solo and Four Square. Mathias Dingman is rapidly becoming the one to watch and he really does fly during the Flying Solo.

 

BRB are so lucky to have Jonathan Higgins as pianist - he plays the Grieg music for Lyric Pieces sublimely. I loved this piece when I saw it at the small Crescent Theatre and on midscale earlier this year. It looks even better on the big Hippodrome stage. You can really see the effects of the cardboard concertinas and the languid and sometimes witty choreography.

 

I've loved Grosse Fugue since the first time I saw BRB do it in the 1990s, with its complex battle of the sexes. To my eyes BRB danced it wonderfully. Again Mathias Dingman and (in the same cast) Chi Cao were standouts.

 

A thougtful and satisfying programme. The only other opportunity to see this programme is at Sadler's Wells in a couple of weeks.

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I wouldn't have said so. OK the men take their skirts off and the girls, at one point, hang onto their belts to be dragged around(!) but I've never found it overtly sexual myself. I would say that it is quite a cerebral programme - none of the pieces are really "flashy".

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  • 2 weeks later...

It's late so no time to write much, but I enjoyed this programme tonight. The first piece, David Bintley's 'Take Five', was a lightweight interpretation of Dave Brubeck's famous jazz number of the same name; the dancers did their best but I found the choreography quite simplistic and uninteresting. There was a good interlude that showed Joseph Caley's considerable talent. The music is also repetitive, pleasant though it is, and for me neither it nor what was happening onstage kept me interested for the whole 25 minutes.

 

The second ballet, 'Lyric Pieces', to Grieg's music, was choreographed by the American Jessica Lang, her first go at choreographing for a European company. I found it quite interesting, very well danced and with enough going on to hold the attention. The dancers were involved in changing the scenery...which consisted of black concertinas shaped into various objects, pathways, walls and were also used as props. I thought it was quite clever and liked how they were also integral to the dancing. There was also a very nice pas de deux for Iain Mackay and Jenna Roberts, which was beautfully danced.

 

The final piece was Hans van Manen's 'Grosse Fuge', to Beethoven's music, very well played by the RB Sinfonia under the baton of Koen Kessels. I hadn't seen this ballet for many, many years, and I did enjoy it again, mostly because of how well all 8 dancers performed it. You could really feel the war of the sexes going on here, and at the end there are no clear winners. One thing that really put me off were the awful, unflattering costumes for the girls...but then I suppose the point of this is to show them as a sort of Amazonian type of woman, not tutued princesses or the graceful girls of the previous piece.

 

Throughout all three ballets, the dancers were lively, in almost perfect time with each other and really look like they meant it. BRB is blessed with a crop of really good young male dancers, and I'm really looking forward to Programme 2 on Friday night.

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I saw and enjoyed this programme last night. Jazz is not really my thing and, like Sim, I found the choreography in Take Five a bit predictable. The best part was the number Four Square danced by four men. Tyrone Singleton stood out earlier in the piece for his lithe dancing and attractive stage presence. Lyric Pieces was an attractive, balletic piece and the Molo "props" / installations were fascinating and expertly handled by the dancers. There was a beautiful pdd by Jenna Roberts and Iain Mackay. I did wonder though whether the choreography had been fitted round the Molo. I was blown away by Grosse Fuge which I thought was very well danced by the eight dancers. Iain Mackay really stood out for his powerful physical presence. The women did not wear pointe shoes but the piece, for me, was still very clearly ballet, which is what I want to see. I agree with Sim that the women's costumes weren't very flattering. I'm not quite sure why. I think that it may have been the colour (cream) of the corsets. I think that the concept of the corsets is fine but either the cut or the colour or both were unflattering. The piece made a powerful impression on me but I did have a tiny nagging worry that perhaps it was rather sexist / mysogynist. I think that the Sadler's Wells audience (which seemed to be an older and less hip crowd than usual) were a bit bemused by Grosse Fuge. The manipulation of the Molo in Lyric Pieces raised murmers of of appreciation but it was Take Five which was the most enthusiastically received. I'd really like to see Lyric Pieces and Grosse Fuge again.

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They did.

 

Oh, and the intervals seemed really long last night. When there's a reception at SW, as there was yesterday, I think that the intervals tend to be longer as they wait for the guests to return to their seats. The second interval was extended by something that happened in the pit. I've no idea what it was. You could hear talking in the pit. There was then a pause for a couple of minutes before the lights went down. Sim, or anybody else who went last night, do you know what caused the delay in the start of Grosse Fuge? I think that the programme over-ran by nearly 15 minutes.

Edited by aileen
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They did.

 

Oh, and the intervals seemed really long last night. When there's a reception at SW, as there was yesterday, I think that the intervals tend to be longer as they wait for the guests to return to their seats. The second interval was extended by something that happened in the pit. I've no idea what it was. You could hear talking in the pit. There was then a pause for a couple of minutes before the lights went down. Sim, or anybody else who went last night, do you know what caused the delay in the start of Grosse Fuge? I think that the programme over-ran by nearly 15 minutes.

Aileen, I was told that during the rehearsals yesterday both intervals were longer than expected because A) it took longer to lay the floor than expected in the the first interval and B) there had been problems with the lighting rigs in the second. Whether it was these same problems last night I don't know. Whereas, as you say, the intervals often last longer when there are receptions going on, last night everyone was seated and we still had to wait an extra ten minutes. If that's the case, I'd rather be outside where I can talk to people instead of sitting there like a chump!!

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we went yesterday, and yes, the intervals seemed very long. At 25 minutes each, they were almost as long as each section. We enjoyed Lyric Pieces and Grosse Fuge the most. Take Five was pleasant enough, but maybe now a little undemanding to watch.

 

The stage settings in Lyric Pieces were great - loved the way the dancers rearranged the collapsible black backdrops/stools etc.

 

Grosse Fuge had a story to it, as the relationships moved from female domination to male. The way one of the dancers 'kicked' the man off the stage was a little scary...

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Sim, I had wondered if one of the players in the orchestra had a problem with his / her instrument eg a string had snapped or a reed had to be changed. There was definitely a conversation in the pit.

 

Stirrups36, I didn't see that bit! At the end one of the women left her partner but then returned and lay down next to him. What did that mean? I wish that I had gone to see this programme again now. I'm going to look for Grosse Fuge on youtube.

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Well, the critics have not been very kind to this programme, each finding something to dislike. Gerald Dowler even described Grosse Fuge as Eurotrash, which takes me back to the discussion about Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet on this forum some months ago. The range of opinions on this programme is a really good illustration of how subjectively we view ballet and how different ballet-goers' tastes can be.

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