Ballet News Reviews | English National Ballet’s Ecstasy & Death
Ecstasy & Death
Petite Mort | Le Jeune Homme et la Mort | Etudes
English National Ballet
18th April 2013
Opening in silence, with six men partnering six foils, Jiri Kylian’s Petite Mort premiered with aplomb. Marize Fumero and Vadim Muntagirov mastered everything. The choreography is demanding and requires complete synchronicity, which wasn’t quite there, but it’s been a long time since I’ve seen the company dance with such conviction and confidence.
You might have wondered whether this triple bill was for you; certainly there has been a mixed reaction to the advertising posters which form part of the rebrand of the company. But you’d be missing a treat if you missed this opportunity. The six women have their own unique devices to get about – the outline of a black dress – which humorously return at the end – minus the dancers.
I really dislike the costumes; I’ve never understood why anyone would dress the men in unflattering, oversized nappies.
The highly anticipated guest appearance of Nicholas Le Riche in Le Jeune Homme et la Mort couldn’t have gone any better. A brooding man in his Parisian garret, gymnastics with the precarious furniture and the ominous arrival of Tamara Rojo as Death cement his future. It was the right decision for Rojo to bring in Le Riche; he has all the gravitas that this role requires. Rojo, too, was in her element. Powerful, in control, spiky black exploratory fingers and shards of glass for feet, she matched his power in a different way and their commitment was total.
Etudes brings back the sheer joy of dancing, ensuring you leave on a high note. The dancers had a tough night of it, dancing in different ballets, and by the end of Etudes you could see their tiredness. So it was lovely to see James Forbat dancing confidently on stage, and Vadim Muntagirov’s floppy hair and wide smile segued neatly into the crisp dancing which is based on a ballet class. The movements gradually become harder, partnering is introduced, and the music builds and builds until really, you’ve got to dance. Erina Takahashi has a lovely fluid upper line and steely feet, and the humorous opening shot from Senri Kou was well received.
This is a triple bill with something exhilarating for everyone over a certain age. Yes, the themes are adult ones – no fairy tales here – but that’s what makes this programme stand out.
It’s also why you should see it – because this is bold programming, well danced, that doesn’t come along very often.
Ecstasy & Death is in rep until Sunday 21st April.