X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

Please note: Previously subscribers used a 'WebID' to log into the website. Your subscriber number is not the same as the WebID. Please ensure you use the subscriber number when you link your subscription.

Dance

The Royal Ballet's triple bill was danced to perfection

You shouldn't call something a 'world premiere' unless it's very, very good — so luckily The Human Seasons was

16 November 2013

9:00 AM

16 November 2013

9:00 AM

Royal Ballet Triple Bill

Royal Opera House, in rep until 23 November

There was a time when the term ‘world première’ was not as fashionable as it is these days. Great works simply ‘premièred’, and their artistic status was not diminished by the fact that the opening had not been advertised as a globally significant event. Which is what ‘world première’ implies, even though it is seldom the case. The term has a sensationalistic ring to it, and should therefore be used carefully and sparingly. According to a recent press release, David Dawson’s The Human Seasons is the second of the five ‘world premières’ that the Royal Ballet will perform this season. Fortunately, this new creation deserves global recognition and admiration, for it is a splendid example of theatre and choreographic composition.

Dawson’s dance-making stands out for the inventive appropriation, manipulation and use of both the classical and neoclassical canons. His  choreography is refreshingly innovative without ever being unorthodox just for the sake of it. Central to the performance is a seamless outpouring of well-considered, theatrically surprising ideas and an extraordinary use of space. Thanks to both, the overall effect is of a dance that flows through a constant crescendo of engaging ideas. There are thematic reiterations, but their use never compromises the breadth of the choreographic development. Seamless action and full use of space — which gives the impression of the action starting and continuing in the wings — are distinctive traits of that northern European choreographic school that Dawson operates artistically within. Yet, there is more to The Human Seasons than the application of a particular choreographic school. The work, inspired by Keats’s verse, addresses facets of human emotions. The theme is not a new one, and has often been chosen by other famous dance-makers. Here, however, the illustrations of different moods is never rendered too graphically, and the ‘seasons’ of the title conjure up a range of intense atmospheres.

[Alt-Text]


This five-star choreography is matched and complemented by a five-star score by Greg Haines. I wish I had both the expertise and the space to comment more deeply on his intoxicating music, as I feel it requires a review of its own. The linear, imposing but never intrusive sets, by Eno Henze, and the deceptively simple-looking costumes, by Yumiko Takeshima, added greatly to the success of the whole.

The dancing, too, was superb, with a galaxy of stars — Lauren Cuthbertson, Melissa Hamilton, Sarah Lamb, Marianela Nuñez, Edward Watson, Eric Underwood, Steven McRae and Federico Bonelli; and super soloists: Olivia Cowley, Itziar Mendizabal, Beatriz Stix-Brunell, Johannes Stepanek and Dawid Trzensimiech — that brought joy to every balletomane. The ‘world première’ was cogently sandwiched between Wayne McGregor’s Chroma, danced to perfection by some of the same artists, and Kenneth MacMillan’s 1962 Rite of Spring.

Each work provided useful glimpses into crucial moments in the evolution of modern ballet — namely ballet across the 20th and the 21st centuries. MacMillan’s Rite is, arguably, one of the first works to rely successfully on a calibrated and ingenious combination of non-balletic, even pedestrian movements with the classical idiom. Led by Zenaida Yanowsky, in the role made famous by Monica Mason, the work remains to date a historical turning point, even though some of the typical early-1960s features might not be everyone’s cup of tea. Likewise, Chroma is the quintessential example of that complex research that modern and postmodern dance-makers have undertaken in approaching ballet. All in all, a very good programme.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.


Show comments
Close