Unlike so many similar projects it has live music, a huge plus. It includes two short films by the choreographer and film-maker Kim Brandstrup. It has a small ensemble of dancers. And the programme is varied, ranging from a selection of short pieces in the first half to a one act ballet in the second.
The Romanian ballerina, now a Lead Principal with ENB and guest Principal with Hamburg Ballet, dances in every piece. In Tim Rushton’s Reminiscence, set to music by Arvo Pärt played on stage by a cello and piano duo (Margarita Balanas and Sasha Grynyuk), she is partnered by Johan Kobborg, her on-stage and life partner, as well as this programme’s co-producer.
Reminiscence is a gentle neo-classical piece, where two people’s eyes often meet, and their gestures mirror each other, as they share affectionate memories. Kobborg, now retired from full-time dancing, remains an assiduous partner, his own dancing still meticulously clear, even if his landings are less smooth than they used to be.
Journey, by the Brazilian dancer and choreographer Juliano Nunes, is a contemporary piece for three dancers including himself, Alina and Dominic Harrison, and marks the low point of the programme. Eerily similar, if not identical, to a section of Nunes’ piece for Acosta Danza, it is a derivative work with much concept and little in the way of skilful realisation.
Johan Kobborg’s 2009 Les Lutins is a playful conversation between two musicians and three dancers, full of bravado and mutual challenge. It brought us a welcome opportunity to see The Royal Ballet’s exciting young principal Marcelino Sambé, engaging in a series of ‘match this!’ dances with Takahiro Tamagawa (who can’t quite match him for virtuosity) before they’re joined by a gamine Alina Cojocaru.
Frederic Ashton created his ultra-Romantic one-act ballet Marguerite et Armand for Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev at The Royal Ballet, and that production makes up the second half of the programme. The consumptive courtesan Marguerite, all passion and vulnerability, is a role that perfectly suits Alina Cojocaru; her Armand is the handsome new ENB Principal, Francesco Gabriele Frola, in his debut in the role. There was, however, something strangely muted about the whole thing, and it never really caught fire.
Kim Brandstrup’s two short films brought an elegiac tone to the evening; the first, Faces, is a very slow meditative close up of Alina; the second, simply called Kiev, is intended as Alina’s own homage to the dance teachers who fired up her passion for dance.
Following Alina as she revisits her school, if features her three surviving teachers. No words, just lingering images, at once entrancing and moving, and one of the highlights of Alina at Sadler’s Wells.
READ OUR INTERVIEW WITH ALINA COJOCARU HERE
|What||Alina at Sadler's Wells Review|
|Where||Sadler's Wells, Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R 4TN | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Angel (underground)|
20 Feb 20 – 23 Feb 20, 19:30 Sat mat 14:30, Sun at 16:00 Dur.: 2 hours approx inc one interval
|Price||£15-£85 (+booking fee)|
|Website||Click here to book|