Ballet News Reviews | Birmingham Royal Ballet Spring Passions

Ballet News Reviews | Birmingham Royal Ballet Spring Passions

Spring Passions – Daphnis and Chloë/The Two Pigeons

Birmingham Royal Ballet

London Coliseum

Tuesday, 13th March 2012

Daphnis and Chloë  Elisha Willis as Chloë and Iain Mackay as Daphnis  photo Bill Cooper

Daphnis and Chloë Elisha Willis as Chloë and Iain Mackay as Daphnis photo Bill Cooper

For every saucepan, there’s a lid. But how they became separated and what happens along the way, well, that’s a whole ballet.  So it is with The Two Pigeons. It’s essentially The Young Man’s ballet, so handy to have the sublime Robert Parker in the role (for the last time) tonight. Opening in a Parisian studio, The Young Man is painting (or trying to) The Young Girl, danced by Nao Sakuma.  Sakuma has more than sitting for a portrait in mind, and dances the role on just the right side of innocent – with enough spice to keep things witty & interesting.

Her Young Man thinks otherwise – and becomes frustrated by her inability to sit still, and yearns to be elsewhere. When a band of gypsies arrive, it’s not long before he is enticed away by Elisha Willis as A Gypsy Girl. The gypsies dance with a ferocity that fair takes your breath away.  Perfect timing, perfect costuming and perfect attitude from all the ladies. Bravo!  And don’t think the men were slacking – Birmingham Royal Ballet is consistently ahead of the pack as far as their ability to get all their men in the air together is concerned.

Of course, The Gypsy Girl is quickly bored with The Young Man and anyway, she has a lover and he’s a keeper (Matthew Lawrence). So after a heady party The Young Man is thrown out, hands bound, and finds himself with plenty of time to consider the error of his ways. Throughout the ballet, bird-like motifs abound; even with his hands bound by ropes, Parker emotes the Pigeons of the title and conveys his sorrow.

Bringing a pigeon back to the studio, The Young Man finds The Young Girl lying on the floor in a broken pose. Tenderly they are reunited and the pair of pigeons roost on the chair together.  Did the pigeons behave ?  Well, almost.  One had a touch of stage fright but both stayed put.

Something else of note tonight – silent feet.  Yes, soundless pointe shoes.  For all those of you who bemoan the noise – this is how it’s done.

Daphnis and Chloë fared less well. Yes, the dancing was still top-notch, but the flimsy story doesn’t come across well and the dancers have little to do beyond wafting and dipping their heads from time to time. Elisha Willis and Iain Mackay, in the title roles, did their best to convey the story, but the Nymphs of Pan aren’t the easiest characters to start with.

Shepherds and shepherdesses waft and wane in front of Pan’s cave; Daphnis and Chloë declare their love but are interrupted by the arrival of Lykanion and Dorkon, who cause trouble since Lykanion has designs on Daphnis. The appearance of a band of pirates signals trouble for Chloë, who is whisked away.  It takes Pan and his Nymphs to find her and restore order.

Tyrone Singleton, as a pirate chief, danced with fire in his belly and fearlessness on his face among his crew of squabbling vixens.  Céline Gittens, Victoria Marr and Jenna Roberts spent the longest time in make-up as the aforementioned Nymphs and it was worth it.  They danced with precision and poise.

The spirited finale suits the Company as it displays again their superb musicality and timing.

Daphnis and Chloë  photo Bill Cooper

Daphnis and Chloë photo Bill Cooper

Spring Passions at the London Coliseum can be seen tonight (14th March) only.

Coppélia opens at the London Coliseum on 15th March and includes – for the first time – a Sunday performance :

Thu 15 Mar 2012 19:30
Fri 16 Mar 2012 19:30
Sat 17 Mar 2012 14:30
Sat 17 Mar 2012 19:30
Sun 18 Mar 2012 13:00


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