Royal Ballet School, Linbury Studio Theatre – reviewed on 1st July
Every summer, the Royal Ballet School takes over the main Opera House stage as well as the smaller Linbury Studio Theatre for a series of performances showcasing its young prodigies. This year the quality of technique and performance remained high, but dancers were let down by mediocre choreography.
Year 8 students were the cream of the lower school, performing the simple balletic Dance Bohémienne with poise and precision. The winning piece from the 2011 Ninette de Valois Junior Choreographic Award, by Year 8 students Lana Antoniou and Nadia Mullova-Barley, was equally impressive. With patterns, changing directions and simple pas de deux it was like a miniature Balanchine work.
A selection of folk and character dances were shown, the highlight being the Irish style arranged by Donna Phillips. Year 8’s Little Jig and Year 9’s Real Reel were so well-executed with formations and rhythms they looked like Riverdance. Morris and character dancing also abounded and was entertaining.
Older students performed classical repertoire. Luca Acri danced Franz’s solo from Coppélia with effortless spins and neat, well-executed jumps. Year 11 showed the charming David Bintley choreography En Bateau with vibrancy and a bravura head-first jump by Fiona McGee into her partners’ arms. Waltz of the Flowers from The Nutcracker lacked performance quality to connect with the audience but was technically neat.
The evening’s highlight was the Don Quixote pas de deux shown to perfection by Anna Rose O’Sullivan and Joan Zamora. Looking every inch the professional ballerina, O’Sullivan was seductive, charming and able to hit awkward balances with remarkable accuracy. Zamora performed his fiendish solo with ease, leaping with firework-like dynamism. Together, they demonstrated the proud and vivacious style of the duet with an infectious attraction.
Other pieces including Encuentro and Spring and Fall were repetitive and uninispiring. They lacked the animated choreography that the Royal Ballet School dancers brought so well to life in other sections of the performance.