Ballet News Reviews | Birmingham Royal Ballet in Opposites Attract
Birmingham Royal Ballet’s dancers are on top form over three different styles in one night that make up Opposites Attract – Take Five, Lyric Pieces and Grosse Fuge.
David Bintley’s Take Five is jazzy (The Dave Brubeck Quartet) and split into 6 sections – Take Five, Three to get ready, Flying Solo, Two Step, Four Square and Double Take. Elisha Willis and Tyrone Singleton were fabulous in Two Step and Arancha Baselga, Laura-Jane Gibson and Laura Purkiss hit just the right beat in Three to get ready. It’s fun, flirty and pretty fast, with a hypnotic back beat. Four Square was excellent with nimble footwork from William Bracewell, Joseph Caley, Feargus Campbell and Steven Monteith.
Jessica Lang’s Lyric Pieces shows what promise she has as a choreographer. Its clever use of space and scenery, with the dancers creating the backdrop as they go with black folded ripples and mysterious changing curves lends itself to Japanese themes, and this piece is also split into sections – Arietta, Elves’ Dance, Peasant’s Song, Norwegian Melody, Norwegian Dance, The Brook, In Ballad Style, March of the Trolls, Phantom, and Remembrances. We almost got through the piece without a flexed ankle, but Lang uses both classical and modern language in her dance and inspired patterns around the floor. Jenna Roberts and Iain Mackay are strong in Phantom.
Elena Comendador’s costumes for Lyric Pieces are beautiful – flowing slivers of grey give the dancers flashing points of silver and elegant lines.
Hans van Manen’s Grosse Fuge sets another new tone; striking bare chested men and unfortunate, ill-dressed women in unflattering corsetry and tights, clustered at the back. It seems timely to show this ballet now; the ladies grouped like nervous deer waiting for the rutting stags to appear, which is exactly what’s happening at this time of year. The ladies were hampered because they weren’t wearing pointe shoes and the movement looked stilted and awkward. By the time the men had stripped off their skirts to reveal black shorts, with a backdrop of a bare lighting tube and a transparent backcloth, the mood had altered, with striking dancing from Jonathan Caguioa and Samara Downs, with great partnering from Matthew Lawrence.
Overall it’s a very clever programme of contrasting styles danced superbly by the company.
Opposites Attract is in repertory at Sadlers Wells until tonight