Monday, 10 March 2014

Young British Dancer of the Year 2014

Young British Dancer of the Year, Linbury Studio Theatre @ ROH - reviewed on 8th March
 
Now in its 15th edition, Young British Dancer of the Year (YBDY) promotes British and British-trained talent in an annual competition. Applicants come from schools across the country but 2014’s finalists were all Royal Ballet School students, making the Linbury Studio Theatre final round last night feel more like an in-house showcase.
   
Erik Woolhouse
Photo: Johan Persson
Secure technique and compelling performance seemed almost mutually exclusive, with many of the young dancers displaying only one or the other. There were also a lot of wobbles – presumably a result of nerves as performing in front of a jury including Kevin O’Hare, Tamara Rojo, Christopher Hampson and others can’t be easy.
   
The clear winner was Erik Woolhouse, one of the few who combined high levels of both technique and presentation. His variation from Le Corsaire in particular was well-executed and exciting to watch.
   
Other impressive solos came from 15-year-old Phoebe Fenwick with her elegant Crystal Fountain Fairy, Joseph Aumeer who showed superb elevation, Ricardo Castellanos with a dynamic and virtuosic solo from Don Quixote, and Connie Vowles who was a technically-strong Giselle.
   
Unfortunately only the boys were rewarded, with none of the top six prizes going to young female dancers. Nevertheless, if previous YBDYs are anything to go by, Woolhouse – and indeed the other finalists too – have a bright future ahead.

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