The triple bill is a triumph for the English National Ballet, for Tamara Rojo, and of course for Sadler’s Wells. It is for evenings such as this that one sits through all the others.
There were three pieces to the evening but the climax that everyone was waiting for was Narcissus & Echo. This is comeback-kid Sergei Polunin’s own world première, choreographed, conceived and starred in by the bad lad himself.
The gig is billed as Wayne McGregor’s but the evening belongs to one of the biggest names in the contemporary art world, Olafur Eliasson, and to musician Jamie XX. That said, it is McGregor’s gifts as a director and as a charismatic strategist that made this impressive show happen in the first place. Sadler’s Wells has brought to London an outstanding collaboration of choreographer, artist and musician.
Akram Khan’s new vision of Giselle for English National Ballet is a brave political reinterpretation of the nineteenth century classic, set to Vincenzo Lamagana’s modern score. Classical ballet purists may find that both deviate too far from the original but there is much to admire.
Sharon Eyal danced with Israel’s famous Bathsheva Dance company and was House Choreographer from 2005-2012. It is her genius that is at the source of this compulsive modern ballet which publicises itself as being ‘about love out of sync’.
This was the UK premiere for the Compagnie Marie Chouinard from Quebec. She started with Soft virtuosity, still humid, on the edge – a title that means nothing in English but perhaps has more resonance in French. Happily the work was far more exciting than the title.
A dance-drama about the troubled lives of Caitlin & Dylan Thomas
This piece was premièred in Wuppertal over six years ago but is a UK première in Edinburgh. It is poignant that this was made just before Bausch’s sudden death on 30 June 2009.
The world famous Kirov Ballet, now reverting to the pre-Soviet name of The Mariinsky, is coming to London. Anna Karenina, which premièred in 2004 and has already been seen in London in 2011, is a stunningly cinematic interpretation of the famous Tolstoy novel choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky, set to a disturbing score by renowned Soviet composer Rodion Shchedrin.
Shobana Jeyasingh moves on to new territory with Strange Blooms at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Here she collaborates with composer Gabriel Prokofiev lighting by Guy Hoare, costumes by Fabrice Serafino and set design by Bronia Housman.
This is a wonderful, epic and cinematic work which also plays with the language of theatre. Shechter’s intelligent creation explores violence by constantly playing with audience expectation and overturning it through humour, political allusion and challenging choreography.