Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Royal Ballet School Annual Matinee

Raymonda Act III/ Journeys/ Concordance/ The Dying Swan/ Jubilation/ A Sweet Smell of Oblivion/ Classical Symphony/ Grand Défilé, Royal Ballet School, Royal Opera House - reviewed on 12th July 2014
   
Chisato Katsura and Reece Clarke in Raymonda Act III
Photo: Johan Persson
There were two undoubted highlights in this year's Royal Ballet School performance on the Royal Opera House stage. 

The third act of Raymonda was so professionally performed that the students appeared more like a top dance company than a ballet school. The whole cast excelled but Reece Clarke and Chisato Katsura truly sparkled at the helm, appearing supremely confident in Rudolf Nureyev's challenging choreography.

The other work that excited was Calvin Richardson's self-performed Dying Swan. A modern version of the classic solo, choreographically it was interesting but needed refinement. What was utterly mesmeric, however, was Richardson's incredible strength, precision and fluidity of movement. He will shortly join the Royal Ballet (as will Clarke) and will no doubt be a great asset to the company.

Other pieces including a new Balanchine-style classical work by Liam Scarlett and a contemporary quartet by Kristen McNally  were well-danced but failed to hold my attention. Nevertheless, the Grand Défilé (which always completes the performance and allows the entire school to come onstage), was a fitting finale and a true showcase of talent.

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