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Judas Tree: the most barbarous ballet of our times

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The Judas Tree raises its ugly head again in London very shortly, with the leading role now allocated to Carlos Acosta. The following article from the Independent marks the event.


This is part of a MacMillan Triple Bill and is annoyingly sandwiched between the two other works making it impossible to arrive late or leave early to avoid it. The other two ballets are Concerto, which hasn’t had a revival for a very long time and is a personal favourite of mine, and the uncharacteristically jolly Elite Syncopations.

I’ve seen this ballet just once before and detested it, the only saving grace of the work was the enigmatic performance given by Leanne Benjamin, a dancer of remarkable interpretive skills. MacMillan was fascinated by rape and starting with The Invitation, a sensitive piece about youthful sexuality and seduction, he returned to the theme frequently, but nothing quite matches Judas Tree for unabated violence both physical and sexual.

The question asked is whether Judas Tree is the most barbarous ballet of modern times, perhaps it is, but in my opinion Eternal Damnation to Sancho & Sanchez is as bad or perhaps worse. I find it extremely disquieting that the modern trend of violence against women is now considered a suitable source of entertainment in dance houses as well as else where.

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