26 January 2012
Each year, the Royal Ballet offer a programme of Draft Works where dancers from the Royal Ballet (who self-select to participate) choreograph a short piece which is presented to an audience in the Linbury Studio Theatre (beneath the main stage at the Royal Opera House). Draft Works allow dancers an opportunity to try their hand at the choreographic process. These pieces are critiqued upon in the mainstream press, so it is a courageous step and not without risk that these dancers put their work forward for public consumption.
This year we were presented with ten works, seven of which were choreographed by Royal Ballet dancers, and three that were choreographed by non-company members.
Of the Royal Ballet pieces, the standouts were:
- i lean & bob by Company soloist Thomas Whitehead, a self-confessed ‘newcomer’ to the process his piece was not only an audience pleaser (think swinging 60’s) but it was smartly put-together blending theme, character and setting perfectly (despite the absence of costume or scenery). Dancers Sian Murphy and Ryoichi Hirano bought the piece to life vividly.
- Into the Woods by Principal dancer Tamara Rojo was a seemingly abstract bondage piece containing a chair and a rope, which was tied around dancer Camille Bracher’s ankle. The piece drew it’s audience into a complex and intimate conversation between Bracher and Jose Martin. Consuming, but for the music (Caprice OP.25 by Alfredo Piatti) which was neither a juxtaposition nor a complement to the choreography – this piece would suit a completely different piece of music altogether. Bracher shows a natural aptitude for modern movement.
- Brandenburg Divertissement by First Artist Valentino Zucchetti was a gorgeously visual piece put together in a most seasoned manner. Zucchetti also picks his dancers well, lovely to see Yasmine Naghdi’s easy presence and charisma on stage, Claudia Dean’s soaring ballon and Dawid Trzensimiech’s clean technique on show.
Of the non-royal ballet pieces, I enjoyed Declan Whitaker’s piece Overtone, which was self-danced. Despite starting slowly it revealed a good union between the music (a combination of three pieces) and the movement.
Elsewhere, Kristen McNally’s Lonesome Gun would look fabulous in a musical theatre context (bought to life perfectly by dancer Hayley Forskitt), and the original score Three Waltzes For Cello and Piano by musician Oliver Davis used by Enrico Montes was particularly charming.
I applaud the dancers, and I applaud the support given to them in presenting these works.