A very international troupe made up of brand-new arrivals and established members of the main company, BRB2 has its London debut at the Royal Opera House's Linbury Theatre as part of the Next Generation Festival, but its world premiere took place on Tuesday 25 April at the Royal & Derngate Theatre, Northampton.
Culture Whisper was there.
The programme, entitled Carlos Acosta's Classical Selection, is an eclectic mix of 12 small-scale pieces, the first part mostly extracts from the classics, the second a collection of contemporary works with which on opening night the young dancers seemed more at ease. Frieda Kaden and Jack Easton had a ball in A Buenos Aires, a playful pas de deux inspired by the Argentine tango and danced to the music of Astor Piazzolla.
BRB2 Frieda Kaden and Jack Easton in A Buenos Aires. Photo: Johan Persson
This section opened with End of Time, a Ben Stevenson pas de deux set to a Rachmaninov cello sonata, danced by Lucy Wane and Oscar Kempsey-Fagg, the elongated, unhurried movement of their bodies well attuned to the piece’s slow, elegiac tone.
BRB2 Lucy Waine and Oscar Kempsey-Fagg in End of Time. Photo: Johan Persson
It ended with Majisimo by the Cuban choreographer Jorge Garcia, a sunny and joyful ensemble piece for eight dancers, inspired by the regional dances of Spain, and in between a pas de deux from Acosta’s own Carmen, and short pieces by Will Tuckett, and Belgian choreographer Ben Van Cauwenbergh.
Some worked better than others; for me the most successful interpretation of the evening was Enrique Bejarano Vidal’s humorous and eloquent dancing to Jacques Brel’s biting satire Les Bourgeois.
Bejerano Vidal had already shown his mettle, partnering Beatrice Parma in the virtuoso crowd-pleasing Diana and Actaeon pas de deux, which brought Part One to an end.
BRB2 Enrique Bejarno Vidal in Diana and Actaeon Pas de deux. Photo: Johan Persson
The evening started with the slow movement from Ashton’s Rhapsody (pictured top), with Frieda Kadden and Oscar Kempsey-Fagg totally attuned to Rachmaninov’s music and Ashton’s specific style, Kempsey-Fagg’s partnering attentive and seemingly effortless.
The young dancers did their best with two hugely demanding pieces, with which they will, no doubt, become more comfortable as time goes by: Act II pas de deux from Swan Lake (Maïlène Katoch and Mason King) and a pas de deux from Bournonville’s La Sylphide (Olivia Chang Clark and an engagingly boisterous Eric Pinto Cata).
As a statement of Acosta’s intent to extend to young dancers the opportunities that helped him kick off his own glittering career, BRB2 is a laudable initiative. You can quibble with the choice of works, but absolutely not with its intention, and the gusto with which these young dancers grasped the opportunity is surely proof of its validity.
Note: Early booking is advisable
|What||BRB2 Carlos Acosta's Classical Selection, Linbury Theatre|
|Where||Royal Opera House, Bow Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9DD | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Covent Garden (underground)|
13 Jun 23 – 14 Jun 23, 19:45 Dur.: 2 hours approx inc one interval
|Website||Click here to book|