Plan to A
The Royal New Zealand Ballet commenced their UK premiere at the Wales Millennium Centre on 11th July with Jorma Elo’s Plan to A. The choreography of the contemporary piece was beautiful and consisted of fluid movements and effortless lifts. The seven dancers created optical illusions with their bodies and wowed the audience with their enchanting partner work and quirky leitmotifs. The classically trained company coped well with the contemporary moves although their balletic technique shone through and teased the ballet lovers in the audience. On a negative point, the choreography didn’t sit very comfortably with the music and the scratchy violin was completely at odds with the dancing. While the music fell flat the dancers gamely distracted the audience from the piercing tones and proved themselves to be part of an exquisite company and more than a match for our own Royal Ballet.
A Song in the Dark
Young, up and coming, Australian choreographer Andrew Simmons’ A Song in The Dark was the piece de resistance of the triple bill and had the audience on the edges of their seats willing it to never end. Although it began in a stark fashion with minimal lighting, a harsh backdrop and just a single dancer and her shadow on the stage it soon developed into a warm and lively piece that showcased the brilliance of the whole company. The female lead who opened the piece gave us a masterclass in ballet technique and her pas de deux and trois were perfection. The piece was more neoclassical than contemporary and the music was much gentler on the ears. The evolution of the piece was much clearer for the audience to understand and overall it was a major success with the Cardiff audience.
This piece by award-winning Javier de Frutos took us back to pure contemporary and was danced to percussion. After the stark beauty of A Song in the Dark, Banderillero was much livelier and transported the audience across the globe by drawing on many different dance styles from African and Native American to Spanish and Arabian dance. The ritualistic nature of the banderillero was clear throughout and the intensity reached fever pitch which drummed through the audience and had them gripped.
Unfortunately the dancers’ techniques were lost in their loose fitting beige costumes and it was difficult to appreciate the choreography due to the harsh music which at points sounded like a hyperactive child had been let loose with a cymbal! The choreography was clever however and once again showed a perfectly rehearsed and synchronised ballet company.