Artiklar från 2008 – till idag
Coordinating a performance for a ballet school of several hundred pupils to stringent Covid social distancing is a Herculean task but amazingly the Royal Ballet School pulled it off.
The expectant buzz that comes with this very special day filled the auditorium regardless of blocked off seating and the students, despite what must have been a hugely demanding year, gave their all.
The Lower School joined in from White Lodge in a Ballet Boyz film introduced by the indefatigable Dame Darcy Bussel and hosted by the young dancers themselves. It gave a close-up and personal view of the student experience: fun, witty and altogether charming.
For the seniors and Year 11 who were on stage, the programme was a mix of ballet and contemporary dance, with works ranging from the classical repertoire to new commissions. It showed that despite the privations of the last year the school was fully functioning and producing some amazing talent in a vibrant atmosphere of creativity and achievement.
The centre piece was Kenneth MacMillan’s ever popular Elite Syncopations, loved by dancers and audience alike. The choreography is pitch perfect; challenging but fun and the 3rd Year Graduate students, dressed in Ian Spurling’s whacky costumes, caught the jazzy rhythm and the mood.
Viola Pantuso, cute as a button, in Stop Time Ragwas expertly partnered by Raffaello Barbieri in Bethena. Olivia Findlay scored in Calliope Ragby adding louche elegance to crisp technique and I loved the charm of Rimi Nakano and Elijah Trevitt in The Golden Hours.
Yuma Matsuura delivered a scintillating Friday Night solo proving his versatility. He also bagged the one solo number of the afternoon, Basilio’s solo from Don Quixote. It was timed to the nano second, sparked by electrifying dynamics while still looking perfectly at ease and with time to spare.
Valentino Zucchetti, First Soloist in the Royal Ballet and making a name for himself as a choreographer, offered Playfully So to Sergei Prokofiev’s Symphony no.1. Classically based and written for thirteen dancers, it set a blistering pace with fast precise movements in canon and exciting innovative lifts. The RBS has a reputation for excellent partnering and despite enforced separations, the 2nd and 3rd Year students showed that standards have been maintained.
The 2nd years shifted to contemporary dance in Didi Veldman’s Is To Be To Arvo Part’s Tabla Rasa. A powerful work that generated waves of tension and surges of exciting movement; free and fluid.
White Lodge, Year 11 had just one work, Swingle Stepping, but it used all thirty students in a vibrant number that crossed boundaries of dance and music styles. Choreographer, Morgann Runacre-Temple, used the young talent well, offering plenty of opportunity in solos and ensemble.
Mikaela Polley, a choreographer with an equally strong ballet and contemporary background, wrote Mozart Suite for the 1st year students. It’s a charmer, elegant, musically matched to Mozart’s notes and dressed in the classiest leotards ever. Another neo-classical gem was the excerpt from Three Preludes by Ben Stevenson. It’s a love poem, in an everyday setting of two dancers at the barre while the simplicity of the choreography takes unusual turns into memorable moments. 3rd Year students, Julie Petanova and Alejandro Valera Outlaw, gave value to every move in a thrilling performance.
Peter Wright’s version of the Garland Dance from The Sleeping Beauty, a beautifully costumed classical ensemble piece was well performed by the 1st Years. Ashley Page’s Mephisto Waltz danced by 3rd Year couples, made a bold statement, dressed in strong dark colours against a range of technicolour backdrops. The partnering was demanding and carried off with confidence and a good dose of sophistication while the clean outlines of tutus and tights highlighted the virtuosity.
The Grand Défilé which brings all the students onto the stage in a showpiece of whirling flying bodies culminating in perfect lines of students in perfect fifths, never fails to bring a roar of approval. This year, technology stepped in to bring virtual images of White Lodge students to join the Seniors in a heart-warming finale. And the cherry on the cake – all 3rd Year students have gained contracts and have companies to join in the autumn. We wish them well.
The Royal Ballet School Summer Performance 2021, Royal Opera House, London, 10 July 2021
Grundad 1995. Est. 1995