Introducing one of our volunteer dance reviewers, Jodie Stapleton:
I graduated from the University of Chichester with a BA (Hons) in Dance in 2013. Since then I have spent time travelling South East Asia, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and South America. I am now back in Devon hoping to carry on developing my own education in Dance and complete my teacher training next year.
Review of Fire and Fury | Birmingham Royal Ballet
by Jodie Stapleton
Tuesday 9 October 2018 at Theatre Royal Plymouth
The company performed two works during this evening’s performance, both politically infused but both very different. The first ‘The King Dances’ used the ballet ‘Le Ballet de la nuit’ as an initial point of reference but goes on to explore the journey of male dance from court entertainment to principal dancers in the ballet companies now. The second piece ‘Ignite’ was created using the painting ‘The Burning of the House of Lords and Commons’ by William Turner as its concept. Both had musical scores written for them and played on a live orchestra.
‘The King Dances’ was set up in 4 parts, each relating to different parts of the night for example the sunset, the evening, sleep and dreams and then finally sunrise. The ballet was performed by an all-male cast apart from a single female dancer who represented the moon. The company surrounding the principals created the courtly scenes expected from the French courts of the 17th Century. They set up tableaus, sometimes holding fire-lit torches, as the dancers told the story. There was a seamless transition from Ballet to Modern Dance throughout, including a beautiful sleeping sequence performed by 4 of the chorus and the King. The lighting for the piece complimented the shadows and warm glow of the night, however it also cast a dramatic and dark space for the nightmares.
‘Ignite’ used a backdrop of mirrors to create the reflections of the river from the painting. The dancers performed in front of the mirrors, dressed in loose tops of every shade of orange and red. The effect is of flames roaring and flickering, causing destruction amid the calmness of the waters below. The dancers flood the stage like wildfire and then drop back to duets, solos and small groups exploring movement triggered by the painting. The aftermath is left to the audience’s interpretation as the stage is left with just the sound of fire crackling and loose material dropped to the floor like embers.
Both pieces were very different, the first used as more of a homage to male dance and the second very physical in its exploration of a still portrait. It certainly showed how diverse the company are, making the important link between classical and modern dance ever more exciting. I would certainly recommend their upcoming performances such as Beauty and the Beast in March 2019.
Top Image: Ignite | Birmingham Royal Ballet