The Beauty Of Dance

Ballet Central

Theatre Severn

4th June 2018

It is a mixed bag of styles, moves and music that define this show as being something quite special. Marked out by costume, choreography and spectacle, Ballet Central has a show on their hands that does more than just entertain.

Comprising five pieces and choreographed by some of the most famous names in modern Ballet. This show challenges, thrills and delights.

The human body is a tremendous tool of communication; it is understanding that and knowing that, that illuminates this company as one of the best in Europe.

 Pushing, stretching and working the body so that every sinew every fibre of the being is being called on to relay the story. That is the trademark of the best companies, they also need to leave the audience breathless at the supple, flexible bodies that fly around the stage seemingly magically at times. If one  is aware that extraordinary things are happening on the stage in front of you, then one is at a great show.

Ballet is such a paradox the harder one works during the performance, the easier it looks to achieve. Using that as measuring criteria this company proved beyond all doubt that they all work fantastically hard; as the spins, turns, lifts and stretches were just so consummate. The silence as the jumps landed is so impressive it really looks like these dancers can fly.

For the audience the first half of the show is the more challenging half for ones with little or no dance experience. Starting with the Black Swan, choreographed by Jenna Lee this piece is based around the Ballet, Swan Lake and the movie, Black Swan, Lee’s interpretation led the audience into a harsh and darkened world.

Very powerfully danced this ballet is both intriguing and pleasing. The mood is sombre and the force of nature is at play on the lake of swans! Stunning is a superlative that springs to mind.

The costume is wonderful, so well created. In fact costume plays heavily throughout the whole evenings agenda. Each piece is beautifully dressed and that is a remarkable achievement in itself given that their van was recently stolen in it were: costumes, props, lighting etc.etc. It is a sad indictment on Clerkenwell but a great indication of the amount of help there was available from the Ballet world. The company have begged and borrowed to manage the tour at all. Well done everybody, crisis averted.

The second piece, Far, choreographed by Wayne Mc.Gregor, is possibly the most challenging of the pieces. Showing the incredible movements of the dancers, some of them almost anatomically impossible, Far, is a less engaging piece as far as narrative is concerned, but based on the age of enlightenment, the piece explores the freedom and fluidity of the body and leaves one quite exhausted just watching. Are Ballerinas really made of rubber? One might be forgiven for having such random and ludicrous thoughts but, you wouldn’t be blamed for asking. All moved to Ben Frost’s unusual score Far, is a very pure piece and calls for a commitment that these performers all have in spades.

One found Kenneth Mc. Millan’s, Valley of the Shadows relatively challenging too. That is a good thing and modern dance should be challenging everything at all times. However one feels the story of the 39/45 holocaust, gets lost a little. Although it is essential for art to question humanity, its highs and Lows, Art must remember it is talking to an audience. One feels that the narrative is cloudy but nevertheless the spectacle was again fascinating.

The second half was very different from the first and started off with a delightful, nay enchanting piece by Matthew Bourne, it was an excerpt from sleeping beauty and focussed on the fairies watching over the Princess as she slept. It is beautiful, the characterisation of the fairies is so breath taking one is awestruck at how nimble and silently they can move even when they are doing some of the more difficult steps and lifts. A word already used is fluidity and again the fluidity of the movement is sublime. Such wonderful dancers.

The final piece of the show is utterly delightful and audiences learn to love Cinderella all over again. The story lends itself so wonderfully to Dance. Choreographed by Christopher Gable, one can only imagine it is dances like this that bring children all over the UK running to Saturday Ballet class with a hope to be one day opening in such a piece. It has everything. It is beautifully dressed, expertly lit and just staggeringly choreographed.

Spectacularly lit, wonderfully scored and amazingly danced. If that had been the brief at the beginning of the project, one could happily say that every box was ticked and Ballet Central have left their Shropshire audience delighted and amazed.

This is Ballet, this is today and this is brilliant!

This is a Four Star Review.

Owen J.Lewis

 

 

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Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet.

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