Reviews of the Royal Ballet.
The Human Seasons, the Royal Ballet's first work by David Dawson, is different on every level. Above all, it has a sense of coherence and continuity: the dancing follows the musical lines of Greg Haines's lyrical score; the balletic style is stretched but never broken; duets are always embedded within a wider sense of the ensemble; there is a clear arc. The curtain rises on four couples, with the women held high. Through the course of the work, each couple will come to the fore, will embody a different dynamic – breezy ease, swooping dives, skating slides – and will return to their opening position.
In the way they push ballet to its formal extremes, both Mr. McGregor and Mr. Dawson are strongly influenced by William Forsythe, whose company Mr. Dawson danced in for two years. But “The Human Seasons” has a romanticism and sense of drama that bring an unusual emotional charge to the dance. Those qualities are amplified by Mr. Haines’s score, which alternates slow, shivery lines of string sounds with more propulsive, urgent rhythms.
Time, though, is not treating MacMillan’s The Rite Of Spring kindly. Stravinsky’s carnal rhythms have inspired some blood-stirring interpretations in the half century since MacMillan tackled it. Despite Zenaida Yanowsky’s full-blooded portrayal of sacrificial victim The Chosen One, compared with Pina Bausch’s primeval life force, this felt pallid and pedestrian.