Reviews of the English National Ballet's new program inspired by World War I.
It's official, pointe shoes are out. The theme of English National Ballet’s new show may look to the past — the centenary of the First World War — but the content is future-focused, jettisoning the pointe shoes for bare feet and classical choreographers for contemporary ones.
It’s packed with firsts: big name choreographers Akram Khan, Russell Maliphant and Liam Scarlett making their first works for the company, two new scores, English National Ballet’s own debut at the Barbican. It’s Tamara Rojo’s boldest move since she became director of English National Ballet, and the most exciting.
No Man’s Land, which focuses on nameless women in a munitions factory and the menfolk they lose to war, shows Scarlett’s talent on the up-and-up: poignant, clear storytelling and striking design (pictured right) complemented by beautiful choreography. It would have been much tighter with rather less of the beautiful choreography: the emotional hit faded after the strong opening moments.....