Jump to content

ENB - Choreographics


Recommended Posts

Was at the rehearsals for the ENB's Choreographics evening at The Pit in the basement of The Barbican. This opened tonight, and runs through til Saturday. Its ENB dancers choreographing new works on their colleagues - and jolly good it is too.
 
Here are a few photos (it was a bit dark, so apologies for the speckly ones)
 
 
14061117659_2cb8718b01_z.jpg
Ripple Effect (Guilherme Menezes, Joshua McSherry-Gray, Juan Rodriguez)
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr
 
 
14061112179_1d31c06d17_z.jpg
We Are Free (Jeanette Kakareka)
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr
 
 
14061154147_f2d12a5f7d_z.jpg
In Living Memory...  (James Forbat, Erina Takahashi)
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr
 
 
 
See more...
Set from DanceTabs: ENB - Choreographics
Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes it was very dark in parts and possibly not the best venue for the choreographers and dancers to fully express themselves but all should get praise for their efforts. Here are some more pictures from the rehearsal.

 

ENB+-+Choreographics+-+2014_036_ripple_m
 
 Juan Rodriguez, Joshua McSherry-Gray and Guilherme Menezes in Ripple Effect by Makoto Nakamura 

 

ENB+-+Choreographics+-+2014_085_memory_f

 

James Forbat and Erina Takahashi in James Streeter's In Living Memory 

 

ENB+-+Choreographics+-+2014_118_vera_osb
 
 Nancy Osbaldeston and Guilherme Menezes in Vera by Stina Quagebeur 
 
 

 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

English National Ballet

Choreographics

The Pit, Barbican Theatre, 22nd May 2014

 

ENB is to be lauded for ensuring that, in the centenary of the outbreak of WW1, they are doing their utmost to keep the memory alive, and to inform new generations of its horror and waste.  Their own young choreographers and dancers have made a huge contribution to this commitment, first with the Lest We Forget mixed bill a couple of months ago, and now with their Choreographics evening.

 

This mixed bill of five pieces included three that are collaborations with composers and singers.  The genesis of these three pieces began with composers writing music to WW1 poems chosen by the choreographers.  Once the music was written, the choreographers got to work, in collaboration with the composers and the dancers.  The relevant song is sung before each piece begins, each with a different, and good, singer.

 

The result was a mixed bag, covering the gamut of emotions incurred by the wrath of war:  death, loss, love, the tragedy of survival, emptiness…Each piece was prefaced by a short film wherein the choreographer explained what he/she was trying to achieve through the dance.  This was very helpful and made the pieces come alive to a deeper degree;  as one watches, the words of the choreographer resound and can be applied to what is happening onstage.

 

Before the four themed ballets were presented, the evening began with a short piece by Emmeline Jansen of the English National Ballet School and winner of their 2014 Choreographic Competition. ‘Count down’, about the descent into mental and physical distress, was evocatively danced by Emmeline to music from the film W.E.  One to watch for the future.

 

The first of the three collaborative pieces, ‘Ripple Effect’, is choreographed by Makoto Nakamura danced by Juan Rodriguez, Guilherme Menezes, Joshua McSherry-Gray and Ksenia Ovsyanick.  Here we were shown three young men, full of the joy of life until they are sent to the trenches.  Two die, one does not.  It is the effect on him and his loved one of this tragedy that marks part two of the ballet.  Having taken the dog collars from the bodies of his two friends, the survivor (Menezes) is unable to move forward, clutching the metal pieces that are all that’s left of his comrades’ identities.  Being dead, they are lost.  In a lovely pas de deux, his loved one (a deeply moving Ovsyanick) tries in vain to help him deal with his despair and his shell shock, but as the lights go down it seems that both of them will suffer for a long time.

 

‘We Are Free’ (Adela Ramirez, Angela Wood, Jeanette Kakareka, Laurent Liotardo and Francisco Bosch), choreographed by Fabian Reimair, is about the youthful naivete of the glory of war….a naivete that fast changes to horror once the young boys have arrived on the bloody battlefields.  After opening with a happy pas de deux depicting young love and the abandon of youth,  the back of the stage lights up to reveal a spectacular woman in red, with spooky and wonderful face makeup, to whom the lads are hitched by rubber harnesses that allow them to walk and stretch, but then snap them back towards her.  Is she death?  Is she the evil side of humanity?  The girls are there, supporting the boys in their moments of doubt and shock.  Whilst stunning to look at, this piece (aside from the pas de deux), is more of a moving tableau than a ballet, but is certainly original in concept and design.

 

James Streeter’s ‘In Living Memory’ is concerned with the emptiness borne by those left behind.  A young soldier, taking his final breaths on the battlefield, remembers his loved one and happy times gone by that he will never again experience.  The contrast of this sadness and the happiness he experiences through these final memories are beautifully evoked in the pas de deux danced by Erina Takahashi and James Forbat as the young lovers.  Nathan Young plays the dying young man, reaching out in vain for a life that will never be. 

 

Emptiness, sorrow, despair, tragedy….all of these were themes of the final piece, ‘Vera’, choreographed by the Belgian Stina Quagebeur.  Being Belgian, she would have grown up with stories of Flanders Fields and those who did not go home.  This piece is based on Vera Brittain’s novel ‘Testament of Youth’,  and addresses the question of how a young woman is supposed to continue living when her loved one has gone.  This question was answered, and beautifully, in this ballet, danced by Nancy Osbaldeston and Guilherme Menezes.  The emotional voyage from first hearing of her love’s death to the abject sorrow of facing  the future alone was clearly and convincingly portrayed by Osbaldeston. Menezes, as her dead love’s tender ghost, comes back to her one final time to tell her that she must live, and love, again.  Over and over she runs back to him, refusing to relinquish this last vestige of a life she has lost, clinging desperately to what she knows she will never have again.  Over and over, he holds her, he turns her towards the light and propels her forward, back to the living.  When his slow departure is complete and she is alone at the front of the stage, the utter sadness and fear etched onto Osbaldeston’s face will remain in the memory for a long time.  There were wet eyes and lumps in throats all round.  She will be a real loss to ENB and sorely missed by her audience. 

 

Choreographics, like the Emerging Dancer competition on Monday night, displayed the richness of talent amongst the young dancers and choreographers of ENB, and their future seems to be, and deserves to be, assured.

  • Like 9
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It was so lovely to see the 2014 ENB Choregraphics programme for a second time tonight.  I always feel, at least with new dance, that a return visit is absolutely mandated assuming an initial tug of engagement.  Sadly, it is exactly that adventure which many christened critics simply don't have the luxury to witness being driven - as they rightfully are - to review.  However, only then, can the stage be fittingly said to have had a chance to deliver its opening sally.  Never fair I think to shoot anyone in the back.  That's not to say that each performance won't ALWAYS be a dangerous voyage.  It will - especially with ANY programme filled with entirely new material.  Oh, and, of course, ANY NUMBER of wonderful things MIGHT happen.  That is, I believe, what we call history.  Still, one simply wants to take the edge off of some of the nerves of anxiety in order that ALL might equally share in the risk; in the fulfillment of this glorious project's shared energy in the most positive light.  

 

Tonight we - the audience - were truly the first and last character of each and every piece in this wonderfully varied jigsaw.  We tangoed.  The Barbican Pit's air hung refreshingly fresh in its auditorium in order that the heat on the stage (as much as the concentration of those drawn into its wonderfully vivid folds) might rise - as it should - ever more incisively.  It did.  Bless ALL for such glorious work; Bless Tamara, George and Gavin for having made real this enticing gift of a vision.

 

There were just so many 'images', as Fabian Reimair so astutely observed in but one of the several finely filleted film segments as rendered by the ever astute cinematic acumen of Laurent Liotardo.  I was proud that we were able to hear the composers own voice in each film aside that of their appointed choreographer.  Each spoke most movingly through their music.  By cleverly employing such a tactic we, the audience,  got a direct sense of the different languages and the shared metres being employed in the collaborations.  That was wisely effective.  It was, indeed, a keen honour that at the the programme's conclusion the glorious affair that is the Ivor Gurney did not - in any light - appear to make any of the original ballet scores being premiered seem out of place.  That in and of itself was an enormous honour. 

 

Tonight my own mind's eye suddenly caught a different glimpse behind the brilliance of George Williamson and Tamara Rojo's ordering of the programmatic fare.  Suddenly I saw - through David Hewson and Makoto Nakamura's fine collaboration in 'Ripple Effect'  - the haunted figure of Guilherme Menezes not only crushed by the death of his friends but now crushing the breath out of yet another exquisite life force so poignantly enhanced by the ever soulful Ksenia Ovsyanick.  One watched as both painfully shriveled into a huddle of living death; as they benched in a life lie every bit as potently false as their promised 'new world' had proven to be.  In the concluding VERA, Menezes was back -  now, himself, a phantom - and Vera - perhaps another of Menezes' surviving mistresses - as enlivened by the ever radiant Nancy Obaldeston - sparkled inside the wide berth of humane hope.  Time may have passed between the beginning and the end but we knew - instinctively - through the shimmering choreographic tongue of the abundantly gifted dance maker Stina Quagebeur - that this woman - this VERA - not only could but WOULD survive.  No one worried that SHE might be waylaid; might be destroyed.  No.  She would lead.  Was her's an 'incongruous ecstacy'?  Perhaps.  I'm not certain.  Certainly one sensed through the determination of that bouree near the end that there was to be a future.  Most definitely.  In totality it was quite, quite 'exaltee'; Vividly so.  I could hear the audience swallow.  Quagebeur makes the passion behind Vera's 'Testament for Youth' - one surely for all time - clear.  John McCrae (her designated poet) too is well attributed through the balanced richness of her choreography - and just how wonderful is it that he should be celebrated by a woman.  Vera Brittain would, I think, rise and cheer.  'We need this voice', she would say.  McCrae too would nod in approbation.  Our sense of Vera's journey, grace and strength - as transcribed by Quagebeur - remains palpable in my heart even now.  It has been refreshed thoughout Stina's own magical mesh of moments.  Brava!  (I, myself, would love to see this fragment developed into a larger tomb replete with several more equally exquisite chapters championing belief much as Vera so courageously does herself throughout the pages of the Brittain.  Surely this fine choreographic artist deserves just such an opportunity.)  

 

Stephan Hodel's was an oh, so rich musical canvas for 'We Are Free'.   It strives to open with a grin of delight - and, yes, a snigger.  I couldn't help myself.  I greeted the wit of Fabian Reimair's opening pas; one launched between the aforementioned Laurent and the dazzling Jeanette Kakareka; with an engaged and engaging smile.  It was as if they were irrepressible. (They were.)   'And now the finger goes here!' one snears.  (You'll have to visit for yourselves to get the reply.)  The music parried each movement with determined theatricality; ricocheting in just so many various and rich shades; each with a rife sharpness that I'm certain Sassoon himself would have piercingly applauded.  The striking design showed the guts behind Fabian's determination to meet his own insight head on.  In that pursuit my mind's eye watched as an auto-cue dropped.  It read simply:  'Cue MORE applause'.  My thanks too to Chris Hamilton for his stunning composition of The Stone; the song - so vividly enacted via Shimi Goodman's dramatically focused instrument - as much as for the ballet where his own compositional voice found a new and deservedly challenging outlet; one happily enmeshed with the wonderfully talented movement of James Streeter's empowering imagination.  This piece bewitched by virtue of its own direct simplicity.  I was reminded of something Tennessee Williams once said:  'Mystery lies between the bed and the chair.'  The heart-rendering trio of Erina Takahashi, James Forbat and Nathan Young were ravishingly expressive; dynamically sharp.  Aside the glory of their composer/choreographer combo each allowed every single audience member the privilege of their own private slice of sentiment (without being sentimental):  A suitable and true test of brilliance.  Bravi.

 

The buoyant aspiration of ALL; that faith in rightful ambition such as has always been the hallmark of Tamara Rojo's determined brilliance - was here fulfilled as much by the ambitious striving of Emmeline Jansen as in the pride of potential we could each extract from within this programme's entirety.  Surely no one could ask for more from a programme labeled ENB Choreographics?  It did what it proclaimed on its advertised tin.  Not only was it well packaged but each and every element saw the music and heard the dance.  Its process was as clear as the striving of its product.  That, as ever, is a thrilling. gripping and miraculous enterprise offering a healthy compliment of potential reward.. 

Edited by Meunier
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vis a vis my review, I have been asked by John Mallinson - and happily oblige - to note that I did proudly have in some very small light - and I hasten to add small - an involvement in this year's ENB Choreographics programme.  I did not mention this in my notice as I can honestly say that I had not seen any of the choreography nor indeed actually heard the vast majority of the music prior to attending this fine programme as a simple audience member.  That made it especially exciting.  My response in that light could, I think, therefore be seen as being wholly independent - or so I certainly felt it to be - or I would never have deigned to publish this or anything else in its specific reference on this much valued forum.

 

In fairness I feel it only fair that I should reference my identity in the real world.  I am Dr. R B S Wall (a/k/a Meunier) ..Can a moderator please let me know how I might best alter my 'BcoF nomination'.  Much thanks.  As say 'Alison' is 'Alison' it might be easier if I was simply 'Bruce' ... or 'Bruce Wall' much as my mother might have recognised.  I chose the name 'Meunier' out of naught but admiration.  Decades ago while living in NYC I found myself in a dance with cancer.  Frequently I shared a 6.00 am chemo drip with a young artist from NYCB.  My historic nomination was chosen out of nothing but total inspiration for that personage - and I have used it here ever since.  I think it was 1997 when I first used it on the wonderful 'Ballet.co.uk' as was.  For security reasons to do with my own work I (and my Board of Trustees) was concerned about revealing my official identity.  Now this usage - given the advances of time and technology - is nothing but a habit and I am certainly happy to drop it and to be known by my own name as 'officially' christened.  Indeed, I agree with many here that it is now only right and fitting that we should.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

In fairness I feel it only fair that I should reference my identity in the real world.  I am Dr. R B S Wall (a/k/a Meunier) ..Can a moderator please let me know how I might best alter my 'BcoF nomination'.  Much thanks.  As say 'Alison' is 'Alison' it might be easier if I was simply 'Bruce' ... or 'Bruce Wall' much as my mother might have recognised.

I'm 'Bruce' already!

 

For those wondering and who were not there - Meunier/Bruce Wall, was listed as the Music Collaboration Mentor and his role noted/decribed in the Introduction to the evening on both the cast list and programme.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bruce2


 


You can change your displayed name by clicking your name at top right of the screen, selecting My Settings and then Display Name. That doesn’t change your login name which will remain as originally set. After doing that all your posts, past and future, will show the new name.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I enjoyed this programme more than last year's (although I would have liked to see a fifth company work, as last year and as originally advertised). I thought that it was a clever idea to have an overall theme and to link each work to a poem. The music accompanying the choreography was, happily, much more melodic than last year; did you have a hand in this Bruce W? I wasn't totally convinced by the musical settings for the poems. Actually, the one which I most preferred - it brought a tear to my eye - was the one for the Wilfred Owen poem, which was a brave undertaking given its well known setting to music by Britten in his War Requiem, which I happen to be very familiar with. All the pieces had something to offer (that's not intended to be damning with faint praise!). I was very taken with Makato Nakamura's piece; there was a clear story and I particularly liked the dancing for the three men. Fabian Reimar's piece started really well (with very spirited dancing by Adela Ramirez) and had the dramatic image of the woman in the wide red dress with the elongated arms at its centre but it lost its way and the harnesses became a bit of an over complicated gimmick. James Streeter had a lovely pdd at the centre of his piece and was one of two pieces to use pointe work. Stina's duet also involved pointe work and was soulful and full of feeling. I did feel that the 'stage' was a bit on the small side even for small groups of dancers and I wondered whether this had hampered the choreographers. I hope that next year ENB will return to The Place where the stage is larger (I think). I read somewhere that next year outside choreographers will be brought in, I assume (and hope) in addition to the company choreographers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Did you have a hand in this Bruce W? 

 

I did only insofar as I was the one who last September/October had the joy of finding the composers for the ENB 2014 Choreographics programme in an effort (i) to give opportunity where such was deemed deserved to those who might best profit from such an unquestionably valuable and largely unique educational/vocational pursuit and (ii) in a concerted effort (perhaps best read 'hope') that the end product might well enjoy a suitable variety of musical format/style/voice.  (In each instance of course it is always a gamble.  That's the exciting part.)  I also had the privilege to meet with the fine team of ENB choreographers in November of last year and provide / discuss a range of different WWI poems with them such as they might like to consider.  In answer to your other question I should note that there was to be a fifth choreographer - a uniquely talented and long-standing ENB artist - who was scheduled to participate right up until quite recently but who most sadly found they had to withdraw.  It was, I agree, a sorry loss.  I'm certain the additional work would have been a fine one.  That said I'm so very pleased you enjoyed the programme, Aileen. There was oh, so much to be proud of I felt.

Edited by Bruce Wall
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've frequently talked to my ballet buddy, the one who introduced me to the art, about how transient the ballet experience can feel. Out of all the art forms, it's the hardest to preserve an accurate record in the memory, and the more one tries to cling on, the harder it gets to keep hold of the feeling. Tonight, more than any other night, that fact is particularly frustrating. Because it breaks my heart a little bit that I will probably never see Vera, at least with that cast and in that setting, again. 

 

Sim wrote so beautifully above about this piece that I won't attempt to describe it further, but to say that it was something very special indeed would be to put it mildly. It was a perfect meeting of choreography and performance. Stina Quagebeur's choreography was sublime, fluid, moving, heartfelt, honest and tender. It was deeply impressive. Quagebeur is definitely a name to keep an eye on for the future.

 

And Nancy Osbaldeston? Well, I will wax lyrical about how much I adore her at any and every opportunity. There isn't any doubt in my mind any more, she is simply, without question, my favourite dancer. I can only presume, given the point of her career that she's at, that she's not even at the top of her game yet. Which is ridiculous. She has a glittering career ahead of her. Not just as a well loved soloist, but surely she's going right to the top. It made me so, so happy to have had the opportunity to see her dance such an amazing role in such an intimate venue before she ventures to foreign climes (although I've resolved to make the trip to see her at RBF). 

 

While Vera was something very special, I was also very moved by Ripple Effect. Especially in the second half, it sent a real shiver down my spine. The interplay between the soldiers, the necessity of their reliance upon one another, the shared experience... It all creates and contributes to a barrier that proves difficult to penetrate for the wife, in this case danced beautifully by Ksenia Ovsyanick. As a whole, it was very moving. In such a short period of time Makoto Nakamura's choreography tells a very complex story very effectively.

 

I'm not entirely convinced by the singing of the poems before each piece tonight. The idea was interesting, and the composition and singing were both very good, but I think I'd prefer to have heard the poems read than sung. 

 

I'm giving up writing about everything I've loved in a show because I'll be here all day, so the above is a 'highlights' review. ENB's Choregraphics, just after tonight, is now going to be an immovable fixture on my ballet-going calendar. For £15, it's a complete no-brainer. You won't get a better bang for your ballet buck anywhere else. But maybe next time I'll buy tickets to two performances. Because if there's anything even remotely as good as Vera, I'll kick myself for not seeing it twice. :)

  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bruce W, I really liked the choice of poems. 'Anthem for Doomed Youth' is one of my favourite poems. I hadn't come across 'The Stone' before; it's very moving with a shocking ending. The music for the choreography was much more suitable for dance than last year's. I hope that this programme can be expanded to accommodate some more choreographers and to make a longer evening, perhaps including a work of 20 to 30 minutes for a larger group of dancers which could, if successful, be a work forming part of a future triple bill. This would be a big step up for a fledgling choreographer and it might be wise to bring in a dramaturg (I notice that even Akram Khan had one for 'Dust').

 

Like BristolBillyBob, I'm very sad that I've seen Nancy dance for the last time. She's going to RBF as a demi-soloist, which is a rank above her current rank at ENB, and I hope that that it not the sole reason for her departure. RBF have a more contemporary repertoire and perhaps that is what appeals to Nancy. They have a very interesting programme entitled 'In Flanders Fields' coming up next season. It includes 'The Green Table' which I'd love to see.

 

Well done to everyone involved in Choreographics, including you Bruce W. I look forward to next year's.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

.....I'm very sad that I've seen Nancy dance for the last time.

But Nancy will be appearing in Romeo and Juliet and, if her corps contribution to ENB's Nureyev production of R & J some three years ago is anything to go by, she will be making her usual impact 'in the round' at the Royal Albert Hall.

 

I agree, of course, that she was lovely as Vera in Choreographics and Ksenia Ovsyanick made her mark beautifully too.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh, is she? I'd assumed that as she had announced her departure a few weeks ago she was leaving before that. Fingers crossed that she will be dancing in the performance(s) which I see. I agree about Ksenia. I'd love to see her in some more dramatic roles.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I should also have praised the short films which had been prepared by Laurent Liotardo, a company dancer who was also dancing in one of the pieces. They were well shot and informative and provided a good introduction to each of the pieces. Free cast sheets were handed out at the performances and some more information, including the texts of the poems, was contained in the downloadable programme. I therefore felt very well prepared, which added to my enjoyment of the works. All in all, I felt that the whole programme was very slickly done with high production values.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

But Nancy will be appearing in Romeo and Juliet and, if her corps contribution to ENB's Nureyev production of R & J some three years ago is anything to go by, she will be making her usual impact 'in the round' at the Royal Albert Hall.

 

I'd booked into the ENB R&J on 22nd June as it was Daria's farewell performance, but I'm presuming it'll also mark Nancy's final appearance before leaving. It'll be jolly nice to be in the audience to give her a farewell cheer too. :)

Edited by BristolBillyBob
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I enjoyed this programme more than last year's (although I would have liked to see a fifth company work, as last year and as originally advertised).

I was the other way and preferred last year - there was more freedom shown and that yielded greater highs and lows than this year.

 

Ultimately company choreographic evenings are about giving dancers a chance to have a go at creating work and most will do it once or twice and not take it further. If you show great promise then a custom score makes sense at some point (but look at Wheeldon and Scarlett and you won't find many custom scores) but I'm not so sure it makes sense when you are starting out - its another thing to go wrong and relationship to manage. In addition, this year the singing didn't add any value for me, bar holding things up. But all the choreographers got a grasp of the brief and produced something watchable I thought. The best for me was Stina Quagebeur followed by Makoto Nakamura. Last year Quagebeur was saddled with some particularly grim and screechy music at huge odds with her movement. I don't know if that is the reason she went with existing music this year, but the Ivor Gurney really worked well and harmoniously with the choreography - as well as being great music in itself. It was a good call by her and probably not an easy one to make given the way things were set up. I also regret that something happened to stop a fifth ENB piece being presented.

 

 

There is a detailed review (by Bruce Marriott) in today's Links which helpfully provides a link to a recording of some of the music used by Stina in her piece.

Thank you!

 

The link to an exceprt of Longing, which opened Quagebeur's work: http://tinyurl.com/qgjxkt4

 

and the music is held on this site: http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/Somm/SOMM038

 

The Sea, another piece she used, can be found on the above page too.

 

I liked the Gurney so much I ordered the CD.

 

 

I think next year working with a composer should not be mandated, but each of the choreographers should be given a wodge of money to spend how they want - design, costumes, score or whatever. I think we will see much more variety emerge and its variety of choreographic vision I think we should prize above all.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree that working with a composer is an additional challenge and I recollect that last year one of the choreographers, possibly Stina, admitted that s/he was a bit, let's say, disappointed when s/he received the score. Happily, the music produced by the choreographers this year was much more danceable.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is indeed wonderful to be able to read Bruce's personal comments (ref post No. 25) because they are as ever so bravely considered and sincerely based on his own vast knowledge.  The glory that is Dancetabs is most certainly a valued part of my own existence.  I give daily thanks for it.  I have learned so, so much from the enormous and trusted scope of its coverage and the prowess of the information so freely offered.  It is nothing less than a wonderful and lasting gift to humanity much like the balletic artform itself.  

 

I know we (the two 'Bruces' as t'were) both hugely admire the zeal-filled stealth and wisdom of Tamara Rojo's leadership at the current ENB stern.  In my own eyes hers is nothing short of a lighthouse beacon for the future of dance.  It/She leads the way.  I was particularly touched that those young dancer/choreographers who had enjoyed the opportunity to share in the glory of working with more established masters in the stunning 'Lest We Forget' programme were this year given an opportunity to stake out their own voice within that same thematic umbrella.  Indeed one audience member - who I had not previously met - innocently said to me that they felt it put all (and here she included herself I believe) on an equal playing field in terms of meaningful observance.  For her that surely meant helping perhaps to round out those proverbial circles that can - as Bruce notes in his review - sometimes be predominant elsewhere.)  

 

I, of course, well realise that it might well be less challenging in terms of an overall concern if the choreographers were able to select their own music from an established realm.  Undoubtedly it would.  I agree too that Stina's selection of the Gurney was inspired - and not just because it was so fitting to the period.  Gurney's music has proved - much as Stina's VERA would I believe prove if given an opportunity for future celebration - universal in its appeal.  Of that there is no question in my mind   That said surely part of the ENB Choreographics adventure - part of its rare privilege - (for that is what I feel it uniquely provides) - surely must be that it additionally seeks to allow each of those dancer/choreographers - fine artists all - to reach beyond and find the language necessary to share with a composer and vice versa within this cherished educational fold.  That in and of itself is a very special gift.  Certainly I know this year's crop of composers HUGELY valued the opportunity to additionally work with the wonderful Gavin Sutherland, Musical Director for what - in my estimation at least - is the finest ballet orchestra in this country - and the extraordinary players of its Chamber Ensemble.  Surely such is providing these diverse young artists with the full array of skills to put in their armory of experience.  Inevitably this will build the skillset of each individual canon no matter its specific realm.  Consequently and in a similar light such inter-active application reaped similar benefits for the talented dancer/film-maker and the wonderful dancer/recording artist whose work was so finely on show.  Of course some active collaborations will be more successful than others.  That is, I think, the way of our world be it in the ballet or anywhere else.  You will forgive me if I'm reminded of Shakespeare: 'Don't make your thoughts your prisons'.  I SO applaud Tamara and George for their daring in providing this slice of artistic freedom in all avenues; for offering the full sway of courage to help a full compliment to build through this extraordinary benefit; this cherished opportunity.  

Also - if I might as I promise naught but an innocent bystander - it is crucial I think (and this is - like Bruce's comments above - but my own personal opinion) that composers (especially those who have themselves not been pressed/raised unto the heights of the concert platform - whate'er the ilk - from whence the vast majority of balletic music is culled) are offered an equal opportunity to apply their skills within this particular arena.  As Balanchine believed: 'developing music is the lifeblood of our art'.  I believe that ENB stands alone in terms of the practical development/education in terms of the 'overall' art - e.g., the entire creation/promotion of such a collaborative language - within the world of ballet in the UK.  I so applaud ENB - George and Tamara and all - for this foresight.  Certainly for the vast multitude of these young composers such application is an entirely foreign endeavour.  The interactive skills required therein is sadly a far cry from the established curriculum rosters of most of the fine musical conservatories in this country.  That is, of course, practically understandable.  By offering this opportunity to those hungry to stretch I feel that ENB are proffering nothing less than a valued public service; building a future on so many fronts; one that I believe will inevitably feed us all in the long term.  

 

Tamara's vision - as ever - shines as it smiles.  While not denying that the risk - unquestionably - is heightened, the benefits - when achieved - are and I believe will continue to be enormously vital throughout the aspiration of such inspirational investment.  It - in and of itself - is inclusive; sincerely so.  May there long be strength to her own and ENB's arm in this regard.  There can I think be no doubt but that we are all privileged to stand in such light; to listen and watch. 

Edited by Bruce Wall
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Excerpts of Stina's piece 'Vera' are now up on YouTube. Apparently, Tamara is going to have a programme dedicated to female choreographers next year and has invited a POB dancer (Marie-Agnes Guillot?) to choreograph something. I'm hoping that Stina and Cathy Marston will both be involved as well.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

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
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...