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ENB Choreographics to be Simulcast, 6.20.15, 2.15 pm GMT

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Dear Friends,

I'm not certain if regional boundaries will apply but ENB's (English National Ballet) CHOREOGRAPHICS programme (wherein company dancers are invited to create original works using other Company members) is to be simulcast today at 2.15 pm GMT ... (9.15 am I believe in NYC) ... In any event here's the link


I went last night and thought the programme had much to recommend it. I wrote a review and will attach that here:


ENB's life enriching CHOREOGRAPHICS incentive has become a 'must do' calendar event for me; something along the lines of Christmas. As previously this year's celebration provided a proverbial stocking that brimmed with potential. Aptly (not to say amply) it hung on that fireplace of hope that is the Lillian Baylis Studio's stage. The great lady herself would have heartily approved methinks. Indeed I thought I spied that crooked smile happily crease as I passed her portrait on the way out. But, no, I was more like just lost in happy thought.

As ever the programme was beautifully facilitated by the insightful steer of the young and very gifted George Williamson (who, himself, produced one of the most gracefully sincere introductory remarks it has ever been my privilege to hear). Thereafter as per now honoured tradition - each piece was introduced by one of Laurnet Liotardo's dynamic film 'featurettes'. ENB’s CHOREOGRAPHICS model has now become one for other such programmes to aspire to.

By the end there was no doubt in my mind that it was definitely the ENB home team that rose victorious on this particular occasion. I say that acknowledging the fact that the Choreographics' bill - loosely hung in and around a theme of post-war America - for the first time this year brought dance makers from without the ENB family fold. (That said - although Renato Paroni de Castro's MEMORY OF WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN which pitched a triangle between two naval twins (the ever winning Menezes brothers) up against one woman (a stirring Sarah Kundi) did not strike a particular cord for me - there were telling elements in Morgann Runacre-Temple's GIVE MY LOVE TO THE SUNRISE – itself a three pronged decoration to the theme of The Lady for Shanghai - that fascinated. Indeed never more so than when focused on the face of Tiffany Hedman's capricious femme fatale a la Rita Hayworth (as abetted by Daniel Kraus) and laddered within the impact of David Richardson's structural lighting. Both hauntingly illuminated the shapely variety of Laura Stevens' motley (i.e., many coloured) score, the only original collaboration between choreographer and composer in this particular bill.

The evening commenced with a zealous choreographic compendium, BABEL by the obviously evergreen Joshua Legge, winner of this year's ENBS Choreographic Competition. Paying homage to the youthful works of one William Forsythe (always a winning place to begin) Legge's conversation to Venetian Snares' 'Integration' sought to accordion a male quartet alone together. The four ENBS students won well the Legge challenge. BABEL's ending - 'and then there was one' - not only stung but suitably prepared us for James Streeter's corrosive take on Julius and Ethel Rosenberg's final meeting - 62 years to the very day. David Richardson's illumination and Louie Whitemore's costume design again enticed for A TOUCH FOR ETERNITY.no less than did Max Richter's rightly nagging 'November'. Adela Ramirez and Juan Rodriguez vividly replicated the impassioned fingers and blood of those historic entities such as was cut through and dripped over the metallic mesh of a visitor room’s regime, The very courage of Streeter's concept bit.

Captivated too was I by Fabian Reimair's 'traumA' (German for 'Dream') wherein angelic Anjuli Hudson's young wife was left in a state of perpetual nightmare by the loss of her husband (a sorrowfully trapped Ken Saruhasi), himself lost as but a number amongst a corporate many. That latter – eternally present it seems - were wittily represented by both Barry Drummond and Shevelle Dynott. Reimair's piece was well framed and it was encouraging to witness the enhanced focus of his choreographic progress from last year's effort.

Max Westwall was ENB's new boy on the choreographic block and his FRACTURED MEMORY not only was the evening's most academically classical piece of ballet but one that allowed its core characters in the final adagio (vivaciously inhabited by both Lauretta Summerscales and Junor Sousa) to not only wear the memory of their joy in their smiles but to twist such into our hearts. Mr. Westwall more than walked on the Choreographics' grass, he ran all over it. He offered diverse opportunities for the largest ensemble of the evening as enriched by Madison Keesler, the evocative Katja Khaniukova, Jinhao Zhang and Daniele Silingardi, an able partner. Collectively the audience's appreciative zeal all but demanded more,. .

Still all was to be but prelude to Stina Quagebeur's A ROOM IN NEW YORK. This was a complete four act drama in but ten minutes of Scriabin: A chillingly complex treatise celebrating the souls of two people - visionaries both - Edward Hopper and his other half, Josephine Nivison. Hopper once wrote: 'Great art is the outward expression of an inner life in the artist, and this inner life will result in his personal vision of the world.' Since Quagebeur has had the courage to invade her own soul, she enhances ours. As far as I'm concerned this is an incisive chapter on Hopper’s own defining work. This too should be preserved in the Library of Congress. As the light faded on that iconic pose owned now by time I saw and felt a slice of life in a manner that could only have been foreign before. That's what ballet and Quagebeur can do. Crystal Costa's amorously tenacious Jo prods James Forbat's profoundly isolated Edward as much as he does her. These characters deserve each other through dance. As originating artists Forbat and Costa more than help define Quagebeur's devastatingly majestic whole.

How I wish the UK mantle that is so oft embossed upon LIam Scarlett's shoulders might be equally enshrined upon Stina Quagebeur. I say this wanting to take nothing away from the core gift that is Scarlett's but fervently coveting an opportunity to see this extraordinary woman - no WRITER - Stina Quagebeur honoured as by rights I feel she deserves to be. Please forgive me. I felt this way after thrilling to last year's searing VERA. Now even more I'm convinced. My admiration stands humbled in the daredevil face of her artistry. Hopper related: 'No amount of skillful invention can replace the essential element of imagination.' Quagebeur has both in perceptive spades. 'She Said' in deed We can but listen and learn. I, for one, give great thanks for the privilege of such opportunity.

What can I say: The evening was a gift.

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