Sunday, 21 June 2015


Choreographics, English National Ballet, Lilian Baylis Studio Theatre @ Sadler's Wells - reviewed on 19 June

Choreographics, English National Ballet's annual platform for works created its dancers, showed the company to be in excellent form. Not only were performances sleek and well-rehearsed, but choreographic ideas - inspired by post-war America - were the most thoughtful and cohesive that I've seen from the company.

Laurretta Summerscales and Junor Souza in Fractured Memory
Photo: ASH
Max Westwell's first publicly-performed work, Fractured Memory, showed plenty of promise in three emotional pas de deux. From the blissfully romantic Daniele Silingardi and Katja Khaniukova to the mournful and passionate Laurretta Summerscales and Junor Souza (by way of an angry and desperate Madison Keesler and Jinhao Zhang), Westwell's choreography was both vibrantly alive and beautifully dreamlike and distant.

Fabian Remair's traumA was the evening's most innovative piece. Its three puppet-like men (Ken Saruhashi, Barry Drummond and Shevelle Dynott) knelt in tunnels of light and repeatedly reached out and fell to the ground, as if constantly replaying the memory of a soldier's final moments.

In Stina Quagebeur's A Room in New York, bold arm gestures and body lines represented hostility and unspoken frustration in an aggressive and emotive duet inspired by the the life of Edward Hopper. 

James Streeter's A Touch for Eternity plus two works by external choreographers - Renato Paroni de Castro and Morgann Runacre-Temple - had many interesting ideas but didn't hold my attention as strongly as the evening's other offerings. English National Ballet School's Joshua Legge also showed Babel, his dynamic and high-energy choreographic competition winner.

Overall, this was an evening of well-prepared and well-performed modern ballet choreography. Put simply, there needs to be more platforms like this.

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