|Natalia Osipova in The Dream. Photo: Bill Cooper|
|Song of the Earth. Photo: Johan Persson|
The second program offered a view of the variety in the Royal's repertory. Wayne McGregor's Infra is marked by a graphic set by artist Julian Opie, a horizontal video board with simplified images of people walking, hovering above the stage. The dancers below, in tops and trunks, mirrored the walkers at moments, and in between, wielded their bare gams in McGregor's brand of exaggerated balletic lines emanating from the pelvis, forced pointe shoe arches, and split developpés. The general chilliness of McGregor's aesthetic is humanized by the physical interaction and kineticism on display.
|Edward Watson in Infra. Photo: Bill Cooper|
An act of Divertissements followed, mixing in ebullient classical (Ashton's Voices of Spring) with its deceptively breezy looking one-armed lifts and skimming assisted grand jetés. Contrasting male solos followed—Borrowed Light (Alastair Marriott), an expressionistic romantic morsel; Le Beau Gosse, (Bronislava Nijinska), a humorous number featuring athletic poses and references; and The Dying Swan (Calvin Richardson), a robotic male interpretation of everyone's favorite ballet cliché. Wheeldon's duet, Aeternum, showcased Claire Calvert's enviable high insteps and arches, and Carousel Pas de Deux featured the charming tomboy antics of Lauren Cuthbertson and the suave, leggy Golding, looking a bit Chippendale, shirtless in a vest and scarf.
|The Age of Anxiety. Photo: Bill Cooper|
The second program was gratifying as it showed unfamiliar repertory. The choice to present The Dream is somewhat mystifying; even though it is well-liked here, and is a sensible balance, both aesthetically and length-wise to Song, it is maddeningly familiar. I also wish I could have a better acquaintance with the company's wonderful dancers (who aren't shared with ABT). May they visit sooner next time.
Program alert: This fall through spring, the Royal Ballet will be featured in ROH Live Cinema broadcasts and will include classics (Giselle, R&J, repertory) as well as premieres of Scarlett's Frankenstein and a production of Carmen by Carlos Acosta.