to a simple rock ’n’ roll… song was recorded at the Barbican in 2017, a performance which earned a Culture Whisper 5 star review and brought dancer Harry Alexander a well-deserved Critics’ Circle Emerging Artist National Dance Award.
In the rehearsal studio we meet two of the Royal Ballet’s brightest young stars, Beatriz Stix-Brunell and Yasmine Naghdi, working on an all-female pas de deux named Duet.
Choreographed by another Royal Ballet dancer, Kirsten McNally, this short piece should throw some new light on the balance of forces between two dancers – not the traditional pairing of man and woman, but two women, showcasing grace and beauty, athleticism and power.
As if all this wasn’t enticing enough, the evening starts with a superb hour-long documentary on that titan of British ballet, choreographer Sir Kenneth MacMillan
The past year marked the 25th anniversary of MacMillan’s premature death, aged 62, backstage at Covent Garden during a performance of one his most powerful ballets, Mayerling.
Entitled Ballet's Dark Knight – Sir Kenneth MacMillan, the documentary includes lengthy clips of some epoch-making performances, such as those of Irek Muhamedov and Viviana Durante (picture above in Mayerling), and extracts from hugely popular ballets such as his Romeo and Juliet, with casts old and new. As well, it brings us contributions from friends and former dancers who knew him well, his wife Deborah and daughter Charlotte, and never before seen family films.
We can also hear Kenneth MacMillan's own voice. The whole programme builds a rounded portrait of a very complex man, one who changed the course of British ballet.
A dream evening, therefore, to kick off a May of dance on BBC Four, as part of its UK Year of Culture collaboration between the BBC and arts organisations nationwide.
|What||BBC Four Dance Season Programme 1|
|Where||BBC Four | MAP|
On 06 May 18, 19:30 Full Evening Programme