Triple Bolshoi

The Bolshoi Ballet are having a season at the London Coliseum: it has included the usual favourites - Le Corsaire, La Bayadère, Don Quixote, Spartacus, and The Bright Stream, which I wrote about last year. This time round I picked the most interesting programme - a triple bill of short ballets, two of which are quite different from the sort of choreography one associates with the Bolshoi.

Class Concert, choreographed by Asaf Messerer to lollipops by an assortment of Russian composers, took Harold Lander's Etudes as a starting point, and assembled a ballet from the building blocks of classical ballet. Starting with the simple barre exercises which are taught to juniors and used for warming up by experienced dancers, it proceeds through all the steps used in ballet, working towards some spectacular leaps and turns: a dazzling display of the company's technique.

Elsinore, by British choreographer Christopher Wheeldon to music by Avro Pärt, is not a ballet re-telling of Hamlet: attempts to find the storyline in it are doomed to frustration. Four couples, watched by a predatory fifth (who may or may not represent Hamlet himself), perform an abstract ballet which is rooted in the emotions and tensions of the play.

Twyla Tharp's In the Upper Room is the furthest removed from the Bolshoi's classical background. Its starting point is the sort of loose-limbed jogging done by athletes to warm up: relaxed and jazzy, and danced as if for the sheer pleasure of it, this contrasts with slightly more formal dancing which still has a relaxed energy about it. The electronic score by Philip Glass, in his usual repetitive and dynamic style, drives the dancing into increasingly rapid and dynamic forms, all danced with an easy brilliance by the company.

Posted: Wed - August 15, 2007 at 08:48 AM by Roger Wilmut          



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Published On: Mar 11, 2016 05:00 PM