Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Alina Cojocaru Gala: An Evening for Hospices of Hope

Alina Cojocaru Gala: An Evening for Hospices of Hope, Sadler's Wells - reviewed on 12th May

Alina Cojocaru in La Sylphide at the Royal Opera House
Photo: Johan Persson, courtesy of ROH
Royal Ballet principal Alina Cojocaru is undoubtedly dedicated to charity Hospices of Hope, which is currently building an adult hospice in her hometown of Bucharest. Few dancers would have the drive or determination to put together a fundraising gala, let alone one at Sadler's Wells with a numerous internationally-renowned performers taking part for free, but Cojocaru did – and the results were a delight.

There were many highlights, but here are my top five:

1. Royal Ballet dancers Francesca Hayward and James Hay performing the Flower Festival in Genzano – an attractively light, bouncy and effortless pas de deux 

2. Ballet 101, performed by the Mariinsky’s Xander Parish – this is Eric Gauthier’s humorous homage to classical ballet, in which 101 positions become increasingly complex and rapid sequences. It’s hard to describe but you can see it performed by Jason Reilly here

3. The incredibly impressive violinist Charlie Siem, who performed  Carmen’s Fantaisie Brillante as well as accompanying Cojocaru, Steven McRae and Marcelino Sambe in Les Lutins 
 
4. Les Lutins, a beautiful and incredibly musical pas de trois by Johan Kobborg in which two men attempt to triumph over both each other and the music in pursuit of a girl, with wonderfully amusing results

5. A dynamic and emotive Dying Swan by Paris Opera Ballet’s Isabelle Ciaravola
 
Further highlights were from students of Floria Capsali Choreography High School, who performed Kobborg’s charming Salute, and Dutch National Ballet’s Matthew Golding and Anna Tsygankova in a pas de deux from Christopher Wheeldon’s Cinderella.
 
Having been recently injured, Cojocaru's own performance of Sleeping Beauty's Rose Adage (which opened the evening) was a little wobbly, but the fact that she attempted such notoriously difficult choreography is a testament to her passion for Hospices of Hope, and she filled the stage with her infectious sense of joy and pleasure in dancing. The humility and gratitude Cojocaru expressed at the end of her show as she thanked the audience was equally heartfelt. "Words are too poor for how I feel right now. Your support means the world.”
 
The gala was an inspiring evening put together by an inspiring woman.
 
For further information about Hospices of Hope, see www.hospicesofhope.co.uk.

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