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ENB’s daring resolution to border a joyous work with two sombre ones pays off of their newest triple invoice – Seen and Heard Worldwide


United Kingdom English Nationwide Ballet’s EK/Forsythe/Quagebeur: Dancers of English Nationwide Ballet, English Nationwide Ballet Philharmonic / Gavin Sutherland (conductor). Sadler’s Wells, London, 9.11.2022. (JO’D)

Stina Quagebeur’s Take 5 Blues © Laurent Liotardo

Blake Works I
Choreography and Stage design – William Forsythe
Music – James Blake: Songs from The Color in Something

Take 5 Blues
Choreography and Costume design – Stina Quagebeur
Music – Nigel Kennedy, songs from Recital: Take 5 (written by Paul Desmond); Vivace; Allegro; Nightfall

The Ceremony of Spring
Choreography – Mats Ek
Music – Igor Stravinsky

On the finish of The Forsythe Night in March this yr (evaluate click on right here), English Nationwide Ballet despatched Sadler’s Wells audiences dwelling on a notice of joyous exuberance. For this new triple invoice, it takes the daring resolution to border the joyous work, Stina Quagebeur’s Take 5 Blues, between two of a extra sombre nature: William Forsythe’s Blake Works I and Mats Ek’s The Ceremony of Spring. It’s a resolution that pays off.

The corporate’s Affiliate Choreographer, Stina Quagebeur has been creating work for its dancers since 2014, at the least. The reminiscence of Nancy Osbaldeston and Guilherme Menezes within the duet, Vera, on the Barbican that yr, nonetheless lingers. Take 5 Blues is on a bigger scale. First proven on-line through the lockdown of 2020, it has been expanded for this new season. Whereas not with out moments of potential menace, in the end it celebrates dance (to the sound of Nigel Kennedy’s full of life violin) as competitors, cooperation and play.

A former member of the corporate, who may carry surprising pathos to the position of Grandmother in Wayne Eagling’s Nutcracker, Stina Quagebeur has a deep understanding of its dancers, each female and male. They present enjoyment, as dancers of ballet, in what they will do with their our bodies (performing a number of excursions chainés déboulés). They transmit that enjoyment to the viewers. Whereas the competitors shouldn’t be essentially between the sexes, on the finish a smiling Julia Conway, Katja Khaniukova and Angela Wooden stand over their male colleagues, who’ve fallen to the ground as if exhausted.

Junor Souza and Emily Suzuki in Blake Works I © Laurent Liotardo

Blake Works I was a part of The Forsythe Night. Its melancholier points, then, should have been overshadowed by the ebullient Playlist (EP), that adopted. On this invoice, James Blake’s voice sounds extra mournful. The duet that Emily Suzuki and Junor Souza carry out to it appears to be like extra stressed. One part of the piece closes on a perpetuum cellular as three males repeatedly rearrange the arms of their feminine companions, who repeatedly seem to withstand. Within the remaining pas de deux, the arms of Emma Hawes and Aitor Arrieta encircle vacancy. An echo maybe of the circle that Eugene Onegin makes along with his arms round Tatiana as he tries to regain her love on the finish of John Cranko’s Onegin.

In Mats Ek’s The Ceremony of Spring the ‘ceremony’ is an organized marriage like that deliberate for Juliet to Paris in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. It’s a topic the choreographer beforehand touched upon in his personal Juliet & Romeo. Erina Takahashi and James Streeter are the implacable Mom and Father, the dusty pink of whose silky however oddly stiff and loosely lower costumes (designed by the painter, Marie-Louise Ekman) are in stark distinction to their spiky, angular gestures of anger and ache.

Emily Suzuki and Fernando Carratalá Coloma in The Ceremony of Spring © Laurent Liotardo

Emily Suzuki, virtually buried a number of the time beneath a voluminous white marriage ceremony costume and veil, is the daughter who resists her destiny. Fernando Carratalá Coloma, additionally in white, is the Bridegroom who appears keen, at one level, to assist her. For doing so, each incur the anger of the ‘tribe’ (the ladies identically dressed variations of the Mom, the lads of the Father). Making shapes with their arms that carry pictures of the unique The Ceremony of Spring dancers to thoughts, utilizing their dusty pink garments to beat the recalcitrant Daughter, rolling throughout the stage: the dancers of English Nationwide Ballet, with the assist of the English Nationwide Ballet Philharmonic beneath Gavin Sutherland, carry the piece to not a climax marked by demise, however to the post-climactic query of ‘What now?’

John O’Dwyer

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