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International Draft Works, Linbury Theatre, 11-12 April 2019

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As no-one has started a thread on this, I thought I would.  I am very interested to hear peoples' opinions.


It was certainly an eclectic evening, and one where it is interesting to see what kind of things the younger generation consider important enough to convey through dance.  Some of the themes are eternal ones, such as love and lust, Man's relationship to nature and to the universe, etc.  Others are a bit more contemporary, such as our competition with AI, and other spacey-seeming things that I just didn't get.    The music was very varied as well;  some of it not much more than sounds, some of it quite nice, especially the sung piece that Hamburg Ballett used, and the sung piece used by Dutch National Ballet in their first piece.   I also liked the music in Kit Holder's piece for Birmingham Royal Ballet.  I'm afraid I can't be more specific about the music or the dancers because if you want this information you have to buy a programme....


I can't say that there is any ballet that I saw over the course of the evening that I would go out of my way to see again.  There were some that I really enjoyed, such as DNB's Sand, choreograhed by Milena Sidorova, Interchangeable Text for ABT Studio Company, choreographed by Gemma Bond (ex-RB), BRB's Stems, choreographed by Kit Holder, and National Ballet of Canada's Grey Verses, if only for the pleasure of seeing Donald Thom back on an ROH stage (choreographer Brendan Saye).  The Royal Ballet gave a chance to two young dancers, Joshua Junker (Canto de Ossanha) and Hannah Grennell (Zohar).  Both works were pleasant and well danced.  


I wasn't sure what to make of Norwegian National Ballet's for:jake, danced by its choreographers Samantha Lynch and Douwe Dekkers.  It was danced to a soundtrack of a little boy called Jake opening his birthday presents with (I assume) his parents and having a great time.  I spent the whole piece worrying that something had happened to the little boy, so couldn't relax.  I am still not sure, but it was a weird experience for me.  


Without question, my total and utter dud of the night was Jack, choreographed by Drew Jacoby for Opera Ballet Vlaanderen.  It was like Star Trek on acid:  bits of what looked liked tin foil stuck to the sides of the four (male) dancers' heads, brightly-coloured Day-Glo shirts with black tights/leggings...each dancer in his own square of light....after 30 seconds I was hoping that they would all be beamed up.  When they weren't, I looked upwards in supplication to gods of Zog and prayed that I would get beamed up instead.  When I wasn't, the realisation that this was 12 minutes of my life that I was never going to get back made me bitter and twisted.   I say 12 minutes;  my friend said 'that went on about an hour too long' and that's just how I felt.  


My view is that it is a laudable exercise to invite young(ish) choreographers and dancers from various ballet companies around the world to create a piece for this showcase evening at the Linbury.  Although these things are always a bit hit and miss,  I hope it's something that becomes a regular fixture.  



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  • Sim changed the title to International Draft Works, Linbury Theatre, 11-12 April 2019

I really liked the Norway Ballet one - some lovely flowing steps in it, though I did find it difficult to connect it to the music. For me, Gemma Bond's Interchangeable Text was balletic and the most like a properly finished piece - the one I enjoyed the most. Also enjoyed the BRB one (also balletic). Agree with Sim about Jack, not one for me either I'm afraid. All told, I preferred the 'balletic' type ones to the contemporary rolling around on the floor in the dark ones (oh yes, as usual, the lighting veered on the side of gloom) but not sure why its called Drafts these days, as all the pieces looked complete, unless they were to be added to in a longer piece. Back in the day, I think I preferred it when it was in-house and the choreographers really were experimenting (on their friends/colleagues/last person in the changing room) whether almost complete, or just literally a first draft. An international evening of new choreographers is welcome though, but they are hardly going to fetch up at the ROH with a piece that they have just started out on, so no need for the 'Drafts' bit, I reckon

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Foteini Christofilopoulou was at the International Draft Works 2019 photocall...

Note that we have done the best we can with captioning a shoot involving many dancers and companies - what we have already represents much hard work.

Dutch National Ballet at International Draft Works 2019, featuring choreography by Milena Sidorova and dancers Khayla Fitzpatrick and Giovanni Princic
© Foteini Christofilopoulou/ROH. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

Picture of Royal Ballet of Flanders at International Draft Works 2019, featuring choreography by Drew Jacoby who used the following dancers: Tieman Bormans, Daniel Domenech, Joseph Kudra and Oscar Ramos.
© Foteini Christofilopoulou/ROH. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

See more...
Foteini Christofilopoulou: International Draft Works 2019
Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

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