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Constella Ballet & Orchestra, Lillian Baylis Studio


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A celebration of the insightful genius that is George Williamson.  His joy; his musicality; his generosity.  The muscularity of this young man's mind elevates us all..  

 

The first piece here presented is called A BALLET FOR NANCY.  It is set to Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring and stunningly wraps a De Mille-like breadth within a 21st Century glow.  It is a chalice for Nancy Osbaldeston's pure sun.  The heat of her joy is always as refreshing as it is humane.  This is followed after an interval by ADAGIO to a movement from Barber's ever stunning Adagio for Strings.  The exotic combination of Jia Zhang and Max Westwall here delight in the zeal of their very private human intercourse.  Our hearts sear in tandem with their shared sacrifice.  Theirs is, without question, an ardently fitting preamble to the life enriching bliss that is the final work, FOUR ON THE FLOOR.  This is set to Judd Greenstein's spirited itch of a score of the same title and is etched - as is all - by the assiduous Constella Orchestra under Leo Geyer's transporting articulation.  The dexterous animation of this fireball of choreographic counterpoint is vividly enlivened via the imperious vigor of that ever ardent factor Ksenia Ovsyanick and the sassy enterprise of the vivaciously vaulting Laurretta Summerscales.  Both are forcefully supported by the fervent zing of Nathan Young and Vitor Menezes.  In whole - as in all its delectable parts - this work thrills.   It simply MUST be seen again.

 

Let there be NO MISTAKE this entire evening is a feast of vivacious ebullience.  It is also surely the best ten pound spend available to anyone this weekend. Do yourself a favour: GO if you can.  You will come out smiling.  Promise.  

Edited by Bruce Wall
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I saw the second performance. Whilst Appalachian Spring is a beautiful piece of music I felt that it was a bit too long for a solo and there wasn't enough choreographic interest. It was great to see Nancy again, though, and she was as delightful as always. The duet to the Barber was very short and there were some lovely shapes but I felt that it ran out of ideas before the end. What a gorgeous dancer Jia Zhang is with her graceful long limbs and pliant upper body. I hope that we will see a bit more of her this season. The audience favourite was the quartet to Judd Greenstein's Four on the Floor. It was a fast, slightly jazzy work and I think that it should be brought back and perhaps refined a bit. I found it hard to watch anyone apart from Ksenia when she was on stage. She really excels in this type of work. She and Lauretta were very well matched physically as were Nathan and Vitor. It was a good opportunity for the latter to do some 'principal' work. He has been rather overshadowed by his twin in the last couple of years. There was an interview with the brothers in one of the dance magazines a couple of months ago in which Vitor said that he had lost some confidence as his brother had started to get more featured roles. He has of course taken part in the Emerging Dancer Award this year and now this and so it is to be hoped that he is now back on track. When you read articles like this you realise how tough it is for young dancers, particularly those who are living far away from home, to make their way in the ballet world and how much confidence plays a part in their success.

 

I think that the Lilian Baylis was a good venue for this (it was almost full last night) but having the orchestra (11 players on this occasion) on stage probably did constrain the dancers a bit. I don't know whether the orchestra was nervous or whether I'm being unduly critical but it did seem to take an excessively long time to tune up (twice) and there was an awful lot of scraping of chairs as the players re-positioned them before the last piece (they had been moved by the stage hands for them). It would be good if these things could be addressed as they made the orchestra look rather unprofessional. I note from the orchestra's website that the conductor has been appointed to a position at the RB (cover conductor?)

 

There is some rehearsal video on the orchestra's website.

 

I hope to see some more work by George Williamson. Perhaps the Choreographics evening could be expanded to include some of his work. I feel that this event could be a lot longer than it has been in previous years and include many more pieces to make a full evening. Why not have ten or twelve pieces rather than six or seven?

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True, but there was a lot of scraping (perhaps it was something to do with the stage and the particular chairs used) and it even raised a bit of a laugh. I think that there were marks on the floor indicating where the chairs and music stands should go.

Edited by aileen
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 Perhaps the Choreographics evening could be expanded to include some of his work. I feel that this event could be a lot longer than it has been in previous years and include many more pieces to make a full evening. Why not have ten or twelve pieces rather than six or seven?

 

I don't know whether you have been to Jay Mews, ENB's HQ, Aileen but, as they only have three smallish rehearsal spaces, squeezing in more choreographers creating and rehearsing would be difficult, I think. I don't recall that even the RB has as many as 12 pieces on its Draft Works programmes, does it?

 

By the way, I thought it a great pity that the leaflet prepared for the show last night and Friday only gave details about Nancy and didn't even say that the other 6 dancers were from ENB, three of them soloists of differing ranks.

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I wasn't aware that there are only three small rehearsal rooms at ENB HQ. Perhaps the rehearsals could be staggered over a longer period of time. According to the rehearsal footage the rehearsals (or some of them) took place at the RAD.

 

I agree that biographies of the other dancers should have been included in the programme leaflet. There are a lot of photographs of Nancy online which were taken by a Jane Hobson.

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I didn't mean to be impolite. I'm not familiar with Jane Hobson's work and I think that using the indefinite article is fairly common practice when one is referring to someone who is not well known to the readers of something which has been written. I hadn't appreciated that she was widely known to readers of this forum and I don't remember seeing her work on the forum. I can't see why using 'a' would cause offence.

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Aileen, I'm sure you didn't mean to be discourteous so may I offer some advice?  I have only been following ballet seriously for the last ten years so I frequently come across names that are new to me.  So I look them up and if it is someone, like this photographer, who has a body of work or is well-known to others, I assume that it is just me who doesn't recognise the name.  The use of 'a' has been seen in this forum before but usually when referring to complete unknowns/newcomers.

 

And of course, the great thing about Ballet.co is that you can always ask for information.  I've always found that there is someone who can enlighten me when I come across something/one new to me. :)

 

Linda

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