royal ballet triple bill; within the golden hour, medusa, flight pattern, roh live cinema relay, 16th may 2019

Contemporary ballet doesn’t always float my boat, but with a lush new Everyman cinema open in my home town showing this triple bill, I thought I would give it a go.

ROH Triple Bill Within the Golden Hour

The first piece, In the Golden Hour by Christopher Wheeldon, was a delight! Skillfully arranged Vivaldi music in a score by Ezio Bosso, beautiful costumes by Jasper Conran and my favourite kind of bright lighting (so you can actually see what’s going on!) by Peter Mumford, came together in perfect harmony. The dancers performed with energy and enthusiasm and genuinely seemed to relish the beautiful choreography and performance opportunity this piece gave to them. Our first main couple Beatriz Stix-Brunell and Vadim Muntagirov were ace! They both danced with flawless technique, but their sense of expression and interaction with each other was so engaging to watch. For me Beatriz stole the stage in the whole piece, it seemed to suit her style and personality so well, she truly shone!

Our next couple of Francesca Hayward and Valentino Zucchetti were spellbinding, they mastered the choreography with ease and entranced us with their beautiful relationship. The third couple of Sarah Lamb and Alexander Campbell seemed to me to embody the perfection of a pas de deux. They complemented each other perfectly and worked so fluidly and with such grace. Alexander’s one handed lifts and supports were breathtaking!

I also really enjoyed the male duet with a movement on practically every beat of the music. It was danced so well with just the right amount of expression. You could sense the camaraderie of the pair as they relished this performance. I enjoyed it so much I can’t wait to see In the Golden Hour again!

Medusa by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui gave the opportunity for Natalia Osipova to exhaust herself with an amazing performance of dance and drama. She put 100% into this piece which she totally lived. Her technique, characterisation and performance were truly awe-inspiring. I didn’t like the piece all that much, but no-one who has watched this could doubt the stratospheric talent of this artist.

As we moved through this triple bill, the ballet content fell sharply and by Flight Pattern we were left with dance movement. Crystal Pite was so engaging and humble in her VT intro to the piece that the scene was well set for us to feel immersed in the plight of refugees. Of course you were going to like it for the powerful mood and emotion it evoked, as well as the physical power of 36 Royal Ballet dancers on stage together working as a huddled mass yearning to be set free. But for me this is dance, not ballet, not even contemporary ballet, so I can appreciate it for that only.

This was a interesting triple bill by the Royal Ballet. It balanced an easy to watch, engaging and joyous piece with two more abstract and emotional pieces to create a dance experience that the Company performed exceptionally well.

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