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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.  


Edited by FionaE
Missing word
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I left at the interval because I needed an early (or earlier) night and the pieces I was most interested in were in the first half, but what I did see was really worthwhile. I'd probably have preferred Muntagirov in it (who wouldn't?) but the Dance of the Blessed Spirits gives me more every time I see it. What a masterpiece!


I actually liked that the show started with a female dancer: I thought it a piquant touch that reminded us that Spectre de la Rose was something of a break point in dance history -  the male dancer taking the spotlight from the female.


I regret missing out on the Nijinska, Lifar and Christopher Bruce excerpts - but cling to the hope that one day I'll see them in their proper context.


One note on FionaE's review above: it started 15 minutes late - I did check. :)

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@dancersdiary has posted on his IG some lovely photos of some of the performers in the MiM gala on Sunday.   


There are several reviews today in the dance links and I was pleased that they are mostly favourable although there were differing opinions about some of the individual items.  All the reviewers thought that Matthew Ball  was one of the stars of the evening and I would certainly agree with that.  IMO his duet with Joe Sissens was a definite highlight and I also loved his performance of the Matthew Bourne Act 2 PDD with Luca Acri.  Luca appeared in Spectre de la Rose  and I must admit to being slightly disappointed with his performance and wishing that Vadim Muntagirov had danced it instead with Fumi Kaneko who was gorgeous.  Vadim himself performed two items both very well, as one would expect, although there was some disagreement among reviewers about the second one, a Russian piece name Adagio. I agree that it was very reminiscent of Dance of the Blessed Spirits but danced by someone of Vadim's calibre I enjoyed it very much.


I enjoyed the two Arthur Pita numbers especially Ed Watson in a spangly leotard and heels which was definitely worth seeing and showed that he still has his old flexibility.  I thought Leo Dixon also did very well and I thought that it was very funny the way the curtain came down before the second to last number and some people made a rush for the bar thinking  it was the interval, only for Dixon to appear in front of the curtain and strip down to a Spiderman costume.  This, incidentally wasn't recognised by one of the reviewers who thought he was dressed as the devil.  


As far as I was concerned the only number that was a real dud for me was Affi, the second number by Matteo Maccini which I found tedious and far too long.  However the rest of the evening was for me on the whole pleasingly varied and enjoyable with the added bonus of being able to admire, as FionaE says, so many sculpted male bodies! Bravo to Ivan Putrov for getting it all together and I hope this gala is repeated in London before too long.

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I have to say that I really enjoyed Men in Motion on Sunday evening - on a cold dark evening I was almost opting out!


As others have mentioned US (Ball/Sissens) was beautiful, Ed Watson (as I had never seen him before), and 2x Vadim, 2x Jose (from Ballet Black) and.. and.. (yes I should have got a programme - but this did increase my excitement in not knowing what was coming next).

I have to agree with Nina99 - Affi, by Matteo Maccini was a bit too long, although the expression of his work, accompanied by the tracks from Johnny Cash, made me appreciate what one man one body can do.   


I sat in the first circle back row and was able to move to Row D for the second act - along with lots of others - which added to the great atmosphere.  

I do think that these types of events attract a more varied crowd and if one of the objectives is to take ballet to a wider audience from what I could see, this event certainly achieved that objective.   One downer is that the event overran it finished around 10.20/10.30pm and not 9.30pm which could be a deal breaker for some.


So my only decision now is whether I will attend the BALLET ICONS GALA 2023 on 19 Feb 23 - check diary book ticket!

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Great to read how  everyone felt about the show. Unfortunately we couldn’t make it for this as we had an early start the next morning on Monday. I hope Ivan gets to do another soon. 

Edited by Emeralds
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