The Chinese Opera: Farewell My Concubine.

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Read my full review of The Chinese Opera’s ‘Farewell My Concubine’ on Backtrack:

Eleonora Sevenard, breath taking at 17.

Beautiful pdd at 5:13. Eleonora Sevenard only 17 I think here but so musical with especially beautiful feet. She currently studies at the Vaganova Academy.

Ballet Rambert’s ‘Dark Arteries’ at Sadler’s Wells, London May 2015

Ballet Rambert’s  ‘Dark Arteries’ went under- appreciated this year: it deserved more praise for its experimentation and for the capability of its dancers: Let me introduce you to some members of the company.

The ‘Murga Interlude’ with Dane Hurst

‘Jeremiah’ with Dane Hurst

Dane has created a magnificent piece of choreography which the Rambert Company needs to mount called ‘O’dabo’ to Paul Gladstone Reid’s, ‘Symphony of Dust and Air’.

Another talented choreographer in the company is Simone Damberg Wurtz. Her creation ‘Rift’  for Rambert’s ‘New Choreography’ was witty, charming and off-the-wall.

Another of the talented company members is Miguel Altunaga:

A glimpse of this excellent company at work:

In the programme called Dark Arteries, ‘Frames’ by Alexander Whitley involved the cast in the complicated use of props, tubes which could fit together to form different shapes. The transience of dance was in contrast to the more permanent tubular structures.

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The movements of the dancers grew from the nature of the tubes, from attaching them and after, releasing them to form a new pattern.This made the type of movement concise and economical, geared to the task at hand.

The shapes were reminiscent of film with the same movements portrayed from different angles and light as the driving force behind many visual ideas (the dancers carried handheld lights at one point attaching them to the frames and lighting other dancers or throwing them into shadow.) There was a  hypnotic feeling of an assembly line or of a film coming together in an edit. The moments  of freedom when dance expanded or the stage darkened and lights on the frames appeared were like a fresh rain falling.

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‘Four Elements’ by Lucinda Childs was particularly interesting to me because it marked a change from the Lucinda Childs I had known in New York in 1960-61 at Sarah Lawrence College, who became part of the Judson Memorial Church experimental group. Here is an early Cindy Childs:

The dancers in this  piece included Luke Ahmet, Lucy Balfour, Simone Damberg Wurtz, Dane Hurst, Vanessa Kang, Adam Park, Hannah Rudd and Stephen Wright. The choreography seemed especially composed for the particular attributes of the dancers and was woven together with great skill.There was something quite sensitive about this, which sets by Jennifer Bartlett helped to enforce.

Four Elements

‘Dark Arteries’ was powered by Tredegar Town  Band for whom Gavin Higgins had composed the music. The sound of brass was haunting and exciting and gave birth to some almost classical contemporary dance by Mark Baldwin.I thought the chaps in neon orange slightly interrupted the tone of the composition. But Viva the experimentation. Here is a brief clip:


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This company is a showcase for new choreography and deserves major attention from those who donate and from those who love adventure and wonderful dancing. Sometimes, when every dancer in a performance is talented, the audience doesn’t quite realise how exceptional this is.


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