Jump to content

Duets- Clore Studio, ROH

Recommended Posts

I went to see the 5pm performance of 6 short new choreographical pieces from emerging artists. The pieces were choreographed and danced by talents from the English National Ballet, Northern Ballet, Company Wayne MacGregor and the Royal Ballet. 

I very much enjoyed the hour. My particular favourites were a compelling (in a slightly disturbing way) duet from Company Wayne MacGregor called Other inspired by the art of Hans Ruedi Giger (ie HR Giger), choreographed by Jordan James Bridge with a really interesting music commissioned from an Icelandic composer Valgeir Sigurdsson; and a captivating duet based on Afro-Brazilian music called Words to the Wind which was danced by Martin Diaz and Caspar Lench of the Royal Ballet and choreographed by Denilson Almeida. Both Diaz and Lench combined a lovely quality of movement with a wonderful emotiveness. I thought Caspar in particular for such a young dancer was quite enthralling to watch.  


Edited by zxDaveM
add 'Giger' as inspiration for 'Other'
  • Like 6
  • Thanks 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was also at the 5pm performance today and really enjoyed the mix of choreographers.

The programme opened with a piece from Rentaro Nakaaki which was fun once the music started and it was great to see Miguel Angel Maidana and Julia Conway up close. 

There were 2 presentations by Wayne McGregor Co, the first from Jordan James Bridge as intellectual study of movement and music as you’d expect from Wayne McGregor himself. 

I particularly enjoyed the work by Breanna Foad which was joyous and musical, aided by the connection Aitor Arrieta and Ashley Coupal had with each other. She mentioned that she mostly choreographs while listening to music on long flights to and from Australia which got me thinking about how hard it must be to sit relatively still for so long. 
I also really enjoyed Denilson Almeida’s piece, the clever use of props (chairs) to set the work and the relationship between 2 friends, one of whom was the brilliant Caspar Lench. There was also a beautiful neo classical piece from George Laing of Northern Ballet and a piece from Hannah Joseph of Wayne McGregor which was very accessible and felt quite street dance in style. Joseph danced in the piece herself and explained how different the process is to choreograph when in a piece vs choreographing on others.

If this is an example of the sort of work which is shared in Draft Works I now feel like I have been missing out and need to better schedule my time in future!


  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

A most enjoyable hour, has to be said. Even if a piece wasn't to your liking it was only around for 6-8 mins, so hardly a chore


Cha-Cha and Tiara (Miguel Angel Maidana, Julia Conway; choreography Rentaro Nakaaki; ENB)

Danced initially in silence, this was inspired by ballroom, but with a balletic twist. Certainly done with wit and charm - great fun


Out of Breath (Alessandra Bramante, Joseph Taylor; ch George Liang; Nothern Ballet)

Probably my favourite of the afternoon, a 'proper' sweeping, balletic pdd (to music 'Undone' by Olafur Arnalds)


Other (Rebecca Bassett-Graham, Eileih Muir; ch Jordan James Bridge; Company Wayne McGregor)

Perhaps the most striking piece of the set of 6, both women struck an almost scary aura in this excerpt from a slightly longer duet. I'd have said though, it was almost like 2 solos danced at the same time, though they did interact occasionally. Definitely McGregor inspired, but without any ugly shapes thrown. Would like to have seen the fuller 12 minutes


Focal (Aitor Arrieta, Ashley Coupal; ch Breanna Foad; ENB)

Australian dancer/choregrapher Breanna Ford 'created' most of this work in her head on flights between Australia and the UK. Cleverly using accapella voices of A Roomful of Teeth singing 'AEIOU' by Judd Greenstein, you can see each dancer responding to different elements of the voices


Words to the Wind (Martin Diaz, Caspar Lench; ch Denilson Almeida; RB)

Based on a theme of we all need friends (if I understood correctly) I'm afraid this didn't do it for me. At one point Caspar was asleep on his chair, and slid to the floor. I know how he felt


Ax.One (Hannah Joseph, Elaini Koula Lalousis; ch Hannah Joseph; Company Wayne McGregor)

Another striking piece from the Company Wayne McGregor camp. "Separate pathways and cognition, feed to a shared pathway". Hannah later described how it was so different choreographing when she herself was one of the dancers (having to use film of themselves to check it was going as she wanted). Whatever the method, was a hit for me


The afternoon was introduced by the RB's Hannah Grennell who proved herself a witty and able presenter, using humour and self deprecation when an occasional mangle of a name occurred, but was generally clear and concise. I think she'd make a great double act with Kristen McNally for World Ballet Day one day 🙂

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

#1, 3 and 5 for me.  But nothing was weak.  Hannah Grennell compèred with a light touch, knowledgeable and invested.  

#1:  (ENB) dance for me is music, so Rentaro’s piece nearly lost me, but Angel and Julia are superb dancers and mostly kept my attention until the music kicked in, when the piece soared for me. 

#3. (WMc) Jordan James Bridge is a new find for me … his dancing of his own choreo the evening before at Ballet Nights had gripped me, as did his choreo for these two amazing female dancers. Alternating solos and occasionally together. 

#5:  (RB) Caspar Lench wasn’t falling asleep off his chair, he was sliding to the floor in agony from some emotion crushing him.  I thought this piece was the most interest and different as it showed emotional support through dance.  That’s complex and I thought they did a good job for very young dancers and a young choreographer.  Denilson did explain that the poems were in Portuguese and perhaps it would have helped audience understanding if they had been translated.  Personally I didn’t need it. The moves and the dancers spoke to me. 

#2 (Northern Ballet).  Nice to watch, and the only duet with anyone en pointe. 

#4 (ENB):  Ashley Coupal was particularly engaging in this piece.  Aitor was his usual muted emotions.  Some interesting partnering and side by side.  And I enjoyed the a Capella accompaniment.  

#6 (WMc) : strong moves and well rehearsed.  The only duet where the choreographer also danced.  She spoke about the different process vs being a non-dancing choreographer.  

A hugely enjoyable hour in the close-up venue that is the Clore Studio.  It must have been interesting experience for the dancers as the same programme was repeated three times in the one afternoon.  For 3 audiences.  The last seemed full of ballet community … plenty of ENB dancers, Javier Torres from Acosta Dance Centre, etc. 


  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, FionaM said:


#2 (Northern Ballet).  Nice to watch, and the only duet with anyone en pointe. 



Out of Breath (Northern Ballet) was choreographed by George Liang and danced by Alessandra Bramante and Joseph Taylor.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, Jan McNulty said:


Out of Breath (Northern Ballet) was choreographed by George Liang and danced by Alessandra Bramante and Joseph Taylor.

thanks @Jan McNulty.  And lovely they were too.


  (I chose to not repeat all the names, as others had given the full details further up the thread. )

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

As tickets for this event in the Clore were at the bargain price of £10 and each performance lasted for under an hour, I decided to see the first two shows to fully appreciate these works, almost all of which were new to me.  My opinion did not change from one show to the next but I was glad to have the opportunity to see if it did.


I had enjoyed Rentaro Nakaaki’s “Cha Cha and Tiara” very much when he created it for English National Ballet’s Emerging Dancer Awards in 2022.  As he explained, he was inspired by his parents, both of whom were professional ballroom dancers.   The piece looked quite different in the hands of Miguel Angel Maidana and Julia Conway, who are very different stylistically from the original pairing of Eric Snyder and Chloe Keneally, but they captured the comedy which Nakaaki has achieved through the movement, no mean task for any choreographer! For the beginning of the piece, in silence, I thought Nakaaki perfectly captured the period after class or before rehearsals when dancers practice their virtuoso steps, sometimes in good-humoured competition with each other.  When “La Cumparsita” started up, Maidana was able to give full rein to his exuberant personality and bravura dancing, with Conway also displaying a good sense of comic timing.  Considering most of the other pieces had quite serious themes, it was refreshing to start the afternoon on such a joyful note.


“Out of Breath”, by George Liang and danced by Alessandra Bramante and Joseph Taylor from Northern Ballet, came with a lot of baggage about the world being complicated and it being necessary to “remember to pause and take a breath” but was basically a well-crafted pas de deux, stylishly danced, although the soundtrack was too loud.


I found “Other” by Jordan James Bridge to be a bit pretentious in its ambitions.  Bridge told us that it was a six-minute excerpt from a longer piece.  For me, at least three minutes of it was torture as the relentless soundscape pounded out mercilessly.  By the second performance, the sound level had been reduced, but not enough.  As such, I found it difficult to connect with the choreography, which was expressionless, although I suppose lack of expression may have been the point.


“AEIOU”, the music for Breanna Foad’s piece entitled “Focus”, is not something I would like to listen to on a long-haul flight (which, she explained before the piece, she does) but Foad’s movement certainly captured the changing focus from one voice to another.  Again, it was so lovely to see two dancers (ENB’s Ashley Coupal and Aitor Arrieta) enjoying themselves and enjoying dancing with each other.  In her first piece of choreography, Foad has established a very interesting, individual style, and I hope she will continue to explore this.


“Words to the Wind” by Denilson Almeida started from an interesting concept of fusing Brazilian rhythms with African religious influences but this was not reflected in the choreography which Almeida said was a conversation through dance.  Unfortunately, I found it a rather dull conversation, although beautifully performed by the Royal Ballet’s Martin Diaz and Caspar Lench.


I also found “AX.ONE” by Hannah Joseph to be on the dull side, mainly because it was expressionless.  Danced by the choreographer and Elaini Koula Lalousis, it brought home to me how much I value facial expression in dance, especially when it is missing.


All in all, it was an enjoyable way to spend a Sunday afternoon, and I applaud the Royal Ballet for giving this platform to budding UK-based choreographers.



  • Thanks 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...