Reviews of Scottish Ballet.
Twyla Tharp created The Fugue in 1970 – at a time when she, along with her peers, was making the transition from strictly minimalist principles towards more theatrical dance. During its opening minutes, The Fugue appears purely reductive, its three dancers stepping through simple sequences, on strictly regular counts and geometric floor patterns. Yet from this basic formula, Tharp starts to tease out extraordinary richness and poetry. Rhythm becomes a live, mysterious force that not only divides and subdivides through a variety of snappy percussive details, but is floated through airy, fluid phrases. There may be no music in this piece, but Tharp makes bodies sing.
Family illness had prevented Edouard Lock from creating a new work for Scottish Ballet, but Friday evening's double bill of Kenneth MacMillan's SEA OF TROUBLES (1988) and Christopher Hampson's SILHOUETTE (2010) was much more than a stopgap piece of programming. MacMillan's take on Hamlet distils plot and central characters into an episodic jigsaw of lust, guilt and death where everyone is haunted by time being out of joint. Roles are interchangeable, the movement almost hyperventilates with stylised dramatic flourishes. Even so, the six dancers on the main stage found the emotional intensity in the non-naturalistic statements of inner turmoil that MacMillan set to Webern and Martinu...
The “Duets” programme resurrected two excerpts from the extensive oeuvre of Scottish Ballet’s founder artistic director Peter Darrell, all but ignored these days, and it is to be hoped that this signals the beginning of his rehabilitation by his company. Alas, a soupy duet from Chéri would not work out of its context and was yoked to ugly music, but a duet and solo from Five Rückert Songs evoked the solitude and loss of Mahler’s composition, Kingsley-Garner again intense of emotion. Of the rest, laurels to James Cousins’ brilliantly conceived duo from Jealousy – restricted to a small red mat lit from above, Sophie Martin never touching the ground as she writhed over Victor Zarallo, she in skimpy shift, he bare-chested, in what felt like a voyeuristic intrusion into their intimacy.
Emotion rides above any narrative when Scottish Dance Theatre joins the company for In This Storm, Henri Oguike’s trio set to Vrebalov’s composition. In the final on-stage work Martin Lawrance’s fine, fluid quartet works directly against the insessant syncopation of Juila Wolfe’s Dark Full Ride. Martin, Zarallo and Andreoni are joined by Katie Webb for Wolfe’s piece and spin a dense, smooth web over the spiky angularity of the supporting music.