Since Tamara Rojo’s reign as Artistic Director, one of the biggest impacts she has made is providing a platform to the company’s emerging talent and this year’s Choreographics was full of original and dynamic displays that will linger in the mind for long time afterwards.
The evening comprised of six new works based on this year’s theme of post-war America. Four of the choreographers feature in the ENB company and this year for the first time two dance artists from outside of it were invited to take part, Renato Paroni de Castro and Morgann Runacre-Temple. The youth, certainly of ENBs choreographers here leaves one in now doubt of the extreme talent possessed even in the lower ranks of the company and what the future holds.
De Castro’s piece, Memory of What Could Have Been is perhaps the most powerful and emotive of the first act and tells the story of a young girl who dates two brothers (and danced by real life brothers too) from the US Navy and marries one of them just before they go off to the pacific war. Sarah Kundi is flawless as the soon-to-be widow, she is skittish and youthful as she floats effortlessly around the stage during her courtship with the two Navy brothers. Kundi has beautifully expressive arms and uses her whole body brilliantly to convey her turmoil as the piece unfolds. Brothers Vitor and Guilherme Menezes possess the necessary synchronicity one would expect of twins, bringing the story to life even more so. Both are steady partners to Kundi in the more complicated drags and jumps and are convincingly sobering in the final moments of the piece making for poignant viewing.
A similarly affecting piece came from First Soloist Fabian Reimair, traumA tells the story of a grieving widow who is haunted by her husband’s image as they finally share one last dance. The piece is preceded by a short video in which Reimair explains he wanted to clearly portray the image of soldiers falling. This is starkly and unforgivingly shown as we see soldiers, their faces framed starkly by white light before they gradually fall out of the spotlights. The haunting scenes are as menacing as promised, but the portrayal of this couple coming together for one last dance is the highlight of this work. Anjuli Hudson and Ken Saruhashi are fluid and smooth in their movements as they are accompanied by the soothing piano of Hauschka’s Craco. An utterly beautiful and moving watch, it’s over too soon.
Perhaps a criticism, although not a strong one as a lover of the occasionally morbid, was that the theme of post-war America made for a lot of pieces centred on loss and grief. The choice made for powerful choreography, but some might argue the evening felt a little draining by the end.
Max Westwell’s Factured Memory was enjoyable, although I felt the storytelling was a little vague at times, however the spectacular pes de deux’s from Lauretta Summerscales, Daniele Silingardi and the rest of the cast more than compensated for the work’s few shortfalls.
Completing the evening was Stina Quagabeur’s original and memorable A Room in New York, a story of a love-hate relationship between a husband and wife who eventually drive each other mad. The piece is danced with total commitment by James Forbat and Crystal Costa. The choreography is relentlessly energetic and physical and the two pant furiously across the stage creating tension and demanding attention. Both are subtle and obvious with movements small and large in his multi-layered choreography that draws you in from start to finish.
Review by Vikki Jane Vile
Saturday 20 June 2015
Performance at 2.15pm
Tamara Rojo, Artistic Director of English National Ballet said: “Choreographics is a wonderful platform for up and coming dance makers, offering them an incredible opportunity to develop as creators, and work with leading figures in the dance world. I am thrilled that this year we are able to live stream the programme, allowing audiences around the world the opportunity to see what these talented choreographers produce.”
This year sees six works, inspired by the theme of post war America, from English National Ballet company members Fabian Reimair, who created We Are Free for last year’s programme; James Streeter, whose work In Living Memory was performed at Latitude Festival in 2014; Stina Quagebeur, whose Vera was selected by The Breaking Glass Project and performed in New York and who recently worked on English National Ballet’s second Dance Journeys project at Sadler’s Wells; and Max Westwell, making his debut as a choreographer in a professional setting.
For the first time, this year’s Choreographics is open to artists outside of English National Ballet, and sees work presented by Morgann Runacre-Temple, choreographer in residence at Ballet Ireland since 2009, who has created four full length ballets for the company; and Renato Paroni de Castro, who has previously choreographed works for Sarasota Ballet and London Studio Centre’s classical ballet performance group, Images of Dance.
Each choreographer will receive mentoring from award-winning choreographer Russell Maliphant and dancer, choreographer and teacher Kerry Nicholls, and musical guidance from English National Ballet’s Music Director Gavin Sutherland. Each piece created will be performed by English National Ballet company members (see below for casting).
The winning piece from English National Ballet School’s Choreographic Competition, which will also be live streamed on ArtStreamingTV on Tuesday 19 May at 7pm, will open Choreographics.
Choreographics offers emerging artists the opportunity to discover a choreographic language and progress their skills as creators. It is vital to English National Ballet’s commitment to the development of talent both within and outside of the Company.
Choreographer: Fabian Reimair
Casting: Anjuli Hudson, Ken Saruhashi, Barry Drummond, Shevelle Dynott
Choreographer: James Streeter
Casting: Adela Ramirez and Juan Rodriguez
Choreographer: Stina Quagebeur
Casting: Crystal Costa and James Forbat
Choreographer: Max Westwell
Casting: Laurretta Summerscales, Isabelle Brouwers, Katja Khaniukova, Jinhao Zhang, Daniele Silingardi, Junor Souza
Choreographer: Renato Paroni de Castro
Casting: Désirée Ballantyne, Adriana Lizardi, Vitor Menezes, Guilherme Menezes
Choreographer: Morgann Runacre-Temple
Casting: Ksenia Ovsyanick and Daniel Kraus
Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler’s Wells
Friday 19 & Saturday 20 June 2015
Performances: 7.45pm (Saturday mat: 2.30pm)
Box office: 0844 412 4300 or www.ballet.org.uk/choreographics
20 June 2015, from 2.15pm
Saturday 20th June 2015