Dance Holland Park
English National Ballet commenced Big Dance week 2012 with a showcase of five new works by emerging choreographers from West London companies. In gorgeous park surrounds and with live string quartet accompaniment, a diverse programme inspired by the current season of Opera Holland Park was presented.
Arcadie Rusu of the Romanian Cultural Institute choreographed contemporary dance work, Hunted Devotion. Inspired by Falstaff, Rusu used the opera’s title character to explore the “dramatic truth” behind comic figures.
To original music from Cosí fan tutte, Katie Ryan’s The Wicked Desire used bharata natyam movements to depict two dancers’ struggle to choose between desire and virtue. Costumes represented a similar conflict with glamorous and modern corsets contrasting traditional trousers and red painted fingers and toes.
Buoso, by Naomi Deira of Union Dance Company, showed two male and two female dancers swathed in black lace, swirling, collapsing and unfolding their bodies to dramatic percussive sounds.
Combination Dance Company’s Lucia took the most literal inspiration from its opera, Lucia di Lammermoor. With short scenes portraying the title character through romance, family manipulation and descent into madness, Anne-Marie Smalldon’s choreography showed three females representing the same role and being showered with, tormented by and left morbidly lying in flower petals, in this absorbing piece.
English National Ballet dancer James Streeter’s duel-like duet (pictured above) took inspiration from Yevgeny Onegin. To a commissioned score by Janine Forrester, two men dramatically circled each other, performing acrobatic leg extensions and lifts in ContraVersus. Alternating between tender counter-balances and more aggressive movements, the work made a powerful conclusion to the Dance Holland Park performance.
Whilst not all the choreography was successful, the opportunity to create for a major stage and work with live musicians gave these five young artists a fantastic chance to experiment. Such opportunities are what make Big Dance so wonderful and should be heartily encouraged.
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Tags: ballet, Big Dance, cultural olympiad, dance, english ballet, events, london, London 2012 Festival, olympics, Opera Holland Park, performance