Annual Matinee, Royal Ballet School, Royal Opera House – reviewed on 15th July
Royal Ballet School students performed charmingly in their annual main stage performance at the Royal Opera House.
Year 9 students paraded the stage with sparkling technique, flawless pirouettes and neat group formations in opening work Jubilation. Brightly coloured costumes and exuberant choreography abounded in Alistair Marriott’s Simple Symphony, where three main couples and a supporting entourage created playful shapes to reflect the varied sounds of Benjamin Britten’s musical accompaniment. Dancers excelled in the unusual movements of Jiří Kylián’s Un Ballo from curled-up foetal positions to banging fists on the floor.
Other choreography didn’t allow the young dancers' talents to shine. Matthew Hart’s Olympic-inspired Games for Gods displayed a huge cast in repetitive Grecian poses and sport movement imitations. Contemporary work Uneven Ground included impressive lifts and jumps but was at odds with its lyrical guitar soundtrack. Choreography to Yondering by John Neumeier was like a tediously protracted barn dance.
Paquita was undoubtedly the afternoon’s highlight, with Mayara Magri, who joins the Royal Ballet company next season, seeming to hover in the air as lead dancer. Anna Rose O’Sullivan and Lachlan Monaghan also stood out with their musicality and vivacity, and the ten-strong corps de ballet was impressively uniform and poised.
The Grand Défilé which always concludes the show gives every student from across the school the chance to dance onstage. With an impressively large number of young performers displaying superb technique and clean lines, it is clear to see why the Royal Ballet School deserves its international reputation for excellence.