Review of the Royal Ballet’s most recent production: one of the most stunning productions ever presented
REVIEW OF THE 21ST CENTURY CHOREOGRAPHERS OF THE ROYAL BALLET: The return of the Royal Ballet to the stage at the Royal Opera House for a modern mixed bill that includes one of the most spectacular pieces I have ever seen received a standing ovation. On Friday, before the show goes on demand, dance aficionados can watch a live broadcast.
The glistening Christopher Wheeldon A dynamic mixed bill kicks off with Within The Golden Hour. It’s flawlessly choreographed and offers a lovely, detailed homage to the golden age of classical choreography. The entire piece is a sensory overload. The dancers are dressed in semi-sheer Jasper Conran costumes carefully sprinkled with sequins against blazing montone backdrops in brilliant orange through to the azurest of blues. Wheeldon’s command of beautiful lines is on display in both the flowing group forms and some of the solo and partner performances. Francesca Heywood glides through a dance de deux with Valentino Zucchetti like a dream. This is the lightest and finest work in a night that is often as much about the silhouettes as the action.
The other three pieces, beginning with Kyle Abraham’s newly commissioned Optional Family: A Divertissement, are all new to the company.
Before the curtain rises, a horribly amusing audio of a couple expressing everything they despise about each other is played to considerable laughter in the audience.
As they come together and spiral apart, Royal Ballet superstars Marcelino Sambe and Natalia Ospiva mix their larger-than-life presences with their explosive technique (Ospiva wilder than ever in dizzying spins).
The addition of a third dancer, though, brings the work to life.
Stanisaw Wgrzyn is a revelation, leaping from the corps de ballet with aplomb and holding his own as his character tangles with both of them. The piece becomes suddenly darkly and slightly menacingly sensual – and all the more intriguing as a result.
The Statement by Crystal Pite, on the other hand, is the unequivocal standout of the night for me. It was commissioned in 2016 for Nederlands Dans Theater and is already a well-known sensation, although it is new to The Royal Ballet.
Every line is realized on stage by four dancers in nearly cartoon extremities of body-locking and contortions, set to the spoken word soundtrack of a shadowy corporate power struggle. “Brinkwire News in Condensed Form.”