OPPOSITES ATTRACT: TAKE FIVE, LYRIC PIECES, GROSSE FUGUE
Birmingham Royal Ballet
Runs 2h 15m, two intervals
Review: Alexander Ray, Birmingham Hippodrome, 26 09 12
Birmingham Royal Ballet on cracking form.
The BRB triple bill opens the Birmingham Hippodrome after the theatre’s six week closure. Doors were closed to rebuild the stage which had become rather the worse for much wear over the years; opportunity was also seized to remodel the entrance, foyer and box office areas.
Whether or not the new stage was a factor in BRB’s performance I can’t say; what I can say is that BRB was in cracking top form. Dance was graceful and strong, with strong stage images too.
TAKE FIVE is danced to Dave Brubeck’s iconic 60s jazz. David Bintley’s choreography perfectly captures the joy and optimism of the 60s. The dance is light and airy, gestures frequently bold; we sense a joy in freedom. Wit abounds, particularly as the men dance FOUR SQUARE. This is an uplifting and joyous piece – the only trouble is you can’t help asking yourself ‘Where did all that hope and joy go to?’
The pace changes for LYRIC PIECES (Grieg), premiered earlier this year. Everything is stripped away to enable us to focus on these gentle (and short) pieces. There if a fragility about these pieces that has you holding your breath. Choreographer Jessica Lang incorporates designs by moto designs who describe themselves as defining intimate temporal spaces – for LYRIC PIECES large concertina-ing sculptures of black card. The dance piece itself, becomes a delicate interplay between dancers, single piano, sculptures.
GROSSE FUGUE completes the trio. Stark contrasts bring strength; the dance matches this with an easeful formality that reflects the music form. A total ensemble piece in which sexuality hovers in the air. All is not straightforward. At the point when it approaches its most macho, the performance achieves its greatest grace and gentleness. It all fades away on a high of stunning beauty.