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Birmingham Royal Ballet - Darkness and Light Programme - Birmingham, June 2014


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BRB's Darkness and Light programme, comprising Dante Sonata, Les Rendezvous and Facade opens at the Birmingham Hippodrome on 4th June.

 

Please use this thread to post your thoughts.

 

Here is a short taster of Les Rendezvous:

 

 

 

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Lovely ballet, horrendous costumes. Oh well, I have my memories.

 

I think it is such a shame the Royal Ballet decided to redesign some of Ashton's ballets. I cannot see that these, the ones for Rhapsody or Daphnis and Chloe were an improvement. At least with the last of these the originals were reinstated.

 

I must just console myself with the thought that at least we are being given this chance to see a gem of a ballet.

 

As always, Sir Frederick thank you for the joy you have given me over the years.

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I have just got back from seeing this programme and I am so full of seeing Dante Sonata on the 70th anniversary of D Day I wanted to record my thoughts. I did see this work when the reconstruction was first done by Jean Bedells (apologies if my spelling is a bit awry) and she gave a most enlightening rehearsal and chat to the BRB Friends which explained the context of the work. I was a little concerned that the younger generation of dancers would miss its sincerity and impact.

 

I should not have doubted them and must single out Iain Mckay and Mathias Dingman as the principal protagonists. I was caught up in the whole experience and it will stay with me for a good while yet.

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I'm just back home from Saturday matinee of Darkness and Light. I kind of gasped when I downloaded the casting and running time yesterday and found out the actual dancing in this triple bill was just 64 minutes (my travel time to and from Birmingham is 4 hours!!). But I do feel today's performance has been worth it. What a treat - a triple Ashton, danced so well by BRB who are all on such great form. I won't say much about Facade or Les Rendezvous other than that they are great pieces, lovely to watch, wonderful dancing from the company.

 

What was very special and very moving was Dante Sonata. What a piece, just what an amazingly powerful piece of dance and choreography. Just the music alone, with the Liszt piano music played so brilliantly by Jonathan Higgins. And the dancing - well words fail me.  As Two Pigeons said above, the experience of seeing it will stay with me for a long time....I cannot put it into words what the brilliant Ashton put into dance......How possibly could I?? What a piece. How wonderful that this genius piece of work has been recreated for future generations. How very very lucky it has not been lost. Feel so happy have seen it danced today. 

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I must agree with the previous poster about the short amount of ballet time for this programme and that really rather worries me.  I thought it was brave of the company to mount three of Sir Fred's earlier works and certainly it was a great time to revive Dante Sonata.  However, the audiences were very disappointing and I do wonder if the feeling that £50 for an hour of performance was a bit steep and so likely to deter people further.  This has the knock on effect that such a programme is unlikely to be repeated and these rarer works will be lost again.  As it is we have absolutely no Ashton at all planned for next season.

 

Les Rendezvous has long been one of my favourite of his works and when I saw it at the weekend I could not but wish that they had dispensed with the 'scenery'.  I could just about live with the frocks - although the girls in the corps should all have had full length gloves rather than looking as though they had been doing the washing up - but the darkness of the backcloth completely overpowered the stage.

 

Oh well, back to watching the proper version on You Tube.  It always gladdens my heart to see it and Marion Tait had a real understanding of the style and wit the variation calls for.

 

Shows you how good Markova and De Valois were when it was premiered.

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I saw the two performances of this programme on Thursday.

 

I very much enjoyed Les Rendezvous; the performances were splendid.  Arancha Baselga was a delight in the pdt and I also loved the trio of Maureya Lebowitz, Lewis Turner and Max Maslen.  I don't so mind the polka dot dresses but I really do not care for the men's garish blazers at all.  Am I the only person who doesn't mind the set?

 

The performances I saw of Facade were terrific and, as with midscale, Celine Gittens stole the show as the Debutante.  I also loved both Mathias Dingman/Jamie Bond and Kit Holder/Lewis Turner in Popular Song.  Yvette Knight and Karla Doorbar were both skittish in the polka.

 

Dante Sonata is an incredibly powerful and moving work, still relevant after all these years.  The company danced this piece with commitment and sincerity and it was particularly appropriate in the week of  commemoration of the D-Day landings.

 

I hadn't realised there was only an hour of ballet - for me it was a glorious programme celebrating the genius that was Sir Frederick Ashton.

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