Thursday, 12 March 2015

Spring Celebration

Spring Celebration, Royal Ballet School, Central School of Ballet, Elmhurst School for Dance and English National Ballet School, Linbury Studio @ ROH - reviewed on 7th March
 
Taking place instead of a 2015 edition of Young British Dancer of the Year, Spring Celebration demonstrated the skills of students at four leading UK ballet schools – the Royal Ballet School (RBS), Central School of Ballet, Elmhurst School for Dance and English National Ballet School. Following an informal ballet class conducted onstage while audience members took their seats, RBS director Christopher Powney described the evening's value in terms of training institutions "collaborating, not competing". Such collaboration was evident most particularly in the bill’s finale, a new piece of choreography by Michaela Polley featuring dancers from all four schools.
   
Leticia Dias Domingues in Classical Symphony
at the 2014 Royal Ballet School annual matinee
Photo: Johan Persson
The evening’s highlight came in the form of David Bintley’s vibrant Orpheus Suite performed by students from Elmhurst. To jazzy music of the same name, male dancers showed their athleticism in an array of dynamic and high-energy leaps and spins. The school also excelled in Ana Garcia’s Transito, a flamenco piece featuring rapid footwork and beautiful live guitar accompaniment.
   
Liam Scarlett’s Classical Symphony – which I didn’t particularly enjoy in the Royal Ballet School’s annual matinee last year – worked well in the programme as a showcase of British training. RBS students demonstrated their sparkling technique and were led expertly by a captivating and expressive Leticia Dias Domingues.
 
Polley’s Nexus provided a fitting end to the evening and was remarkably slick considering the four schools had only come together the day before. To an upbeat score by Philip Feeney, the virtuosic work showed both contemporary ballet and young British dancers at their best.

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