Annual matinee, Royal Ballet School, Royal Opera House - reviewed on 12th July
The Royal Ballet School looked thoroughly professional in
its annual matinee on the Royal Opera House main stage.
Young students opened the programme, performing the Mazurka
des Enfants from Paquita with
confidence and poise. A lengthy extract from La Bayadere followed, with upper school students impressing
particularly in corps de ballet and small group choreography. In the principal
roles, Chisato Katsura (who stood
out in the school’s Raymonda last year
and will shortly be joining the Royal Ballet company) gave a charming but uncharacteristically
wobbly performance, whilst Francisco Serrano was technically excellent but lacking the
artistic interpretation which Katsura showed in spades.
Graduating students excelled in Jiří Kylián’s Sechs Tänze, a rather
bizarre 1986 work featuring humour, absurdity and a lot of faux
violence. Its ten-strong cast could easily have been mistaken for a contemporary
company which specialised in performing Kylián’s choreography.
Second years impressed in Frederick Ashton’s playful Les Rendezvous. Koho Yanagisawa was
particularly exquisite, displaying near-perfect mastery of the choreographer’s
musicality, deep body bends and fast footwork. Joseph Sissens also shone with
his excellent technique, charming characterisation and solid partnering.
The Grand Défilé
is always the matinee’s highlight, and this year was no exception. The school’s
youngest students opened with simple and elegant steps, and final year boys
completed the afternoon with dynamic leaps and pirouettes.
Cinderella, Dutch National Ballet, London Coliseum - reviewed on 9th July
Photo: Angela Sterling
Wheeldon’s Cinderella disappoints.
There are charming elements, such as the seated thigh-slapping group of ladies
waiting to try on Cinderella’s discarded shoe, and the group of four Fates who
follow the heroine throughout. But weak pas de deux and an overcomplicated
narrative – including scenes of the Prince as a child, romance for one of Cinderella's stepsisters and even dancing conkers – left me longing for
Frederick Ashton’s version.
shines most in Julian Crouch's designs, particularly the season-replacement Spirits with their vibrantly coloured outfits complete with matching wigs and lipstick.