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Alexandra

Edinburgh Festival reviews

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From today's Links:

Reviews of Ballet West's Tudor program at the Edinburgh Festival:

Not even Ballet West's most devoted fans would presume to rank this Utah-based company as one of America's finest. But a modest technical standard can almost be an advantage when tackling the ballets of Antony Tudor. Star performances and jaw-dropping virtuosity are not what Tudor is about and from the start of Ballet West's all-Tudor bill the dancers honour this. Far from seeing a second division company trying to force effects that are beyond them, we see an intelligent, dedicated ensemble focusing on the musical subtleties and dramatic nuances that make these ballets unique.

What is most striking about The Leaves Are Fading, however, is Tudor’s musical ear. Each note of Dvorak’s score is treated with respect, and matched perfectly to movement. Music proved to be the dominant factor in The Lilac Garden, one of Tudor’s earliest works from 1936. Guest violinist, Kelly Parkinson packed more passion into her playing than any of the dancers on stage; few of whom looked at home in their individual characters. Not so with closing number, Offenbach In The Underworld -- as perfect a ballet as one could wish for. Tudor at the height of his powers in 1954, and the Ballet West performers dancing roles they were born to play. the perfect tribute to Tudor’s choreographic genius.

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A review on ballet.co by Lynette Halewood:

Tudor Triple Bill: ‘Lilac Garden’, ‘The Leaves are Fading’, ‘Offenbach in the Underworld’

There was a fairly full house for Ballet West at the Edinburgh festival, though neither the company nor the programme were particularly familiar to audiences. Although English by birth, Tudor’s works are thin on the ground in the UK: you have to look carefully for them. The Royal did a few performances of Lilac Garden a season or so back, and then had a brief run of Leaves are Fading, which did not linger in the repertory. In the 90s, BRB did Pillar of Fire. Dark Elegies was a key work in the evolution of Rambert, but is very rarely performed today. So three works by Tudor on one programme is a rarity. It cannot be said that the Edinburgh Playhouse is the most suitable setting for a choreographer whose reputation is based on the intimate and detailed portrayal of characters and relationships. It is a great barn of a place, capable of holding nearly three thousand people, with a wide but shallow stage which visiting companies have often found tricky.

The three works spanned Tudor’s entire career, from his early Lilac Garden, which established a new direction and agenda for British ballet in the thirties, to the fifties romp of Offenbach in the Underworld to the later (seventies) wistful dreaminess of Leaves are Fading. Ballet West are a new visitor to the UK: they are not a large or major company in the US, but there is a key link to Tudor. Ballet West’s Artistic Director, Jonas Kage, created a central role in Leaves are Fading, and this has been in the repertory of Ballet West for seven years. The other Tudor works are newer to Ballet West, with the Offenbach receiving its company premiere at the Edinburgh Festival. The company does not have the resources to field major stars, and some of the corps look young and perhaps inexperienced, but they worked hard and had a real sense of engagement with the material which made the pieces they were more familiar with come alive. In their hands, Leaves are Fading had more life about it than the rather insipid production recently at the RB.

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