Lest We Forget, an English National Ballet triple bill on the theme of World War I, was originally commissioned to commemorate the centenary of the start of the conflict. Four years later, as we mark 100 years since the end of that devastating war, it returns to the stage, having lost none of its power.
Below is Culture Whisper's original Review
Liam Scarlett, No Man's Land ★★★★★
Royal Ballet Artist in Residence Liam Scarlett's contribution focuses on absences and leavings behind, the divides that came down between couples, loved ones and friends at war. The dancers tantalise each other with soft brushes and remembered embraces, only to vanish out of reach. The women have yellow hands – a mark of their move into the factories to replace conscripted men, and they move with a listless fatigue. Three pas de deux show off Scarlett's remarkable vocabulary, clever and sensual lifts scattered with small, significant gestures in perfect time with Liszt's Harmonies Poétiques et Religieuses.
Russell Maliphant, Second Breath ★★★★★
Maliphant has used more dancers than his usual style, and the 20 figures people the stage as though a moving army. With only Michael Hulls' lighting, a score from Andy Bowton and no set, it is down to the dancers to articulate in the programme’s most abstract piece. In true Maliphant style, they move as though paced by their own breath, with t'ai chi-like control. Small shifts of weight move to huge weight-denying steps into the air, only to plunge back to ground again.
Akram Khan, Dust ★★★★★
From its tense first moment, it's clear Dust is something unusual. Intense, rhythmic and playing to ENB's considerable strengths, the audience were rigid with attention, barely a breath escaping. The trenches provide the backdrop, over which figures gradually crawl, and the women of the war, stepping into now vacant roles, at the centre-point. A man twitches on stage, his muscles boiling under the yellow light. A wan row of figures loom behind him, with one strike clapping dust into the air. The group moves in perfect unison, their linked, rolling arms moving as though a single limb, until they break for the central pas de deux.
Danced with single-minded power on opening night by Tamara Rojo and James Streeter, it is marked by Khan's emotional intelligence. The final standing ovation was almost universal.
Originally billed as 'a landmark event in British Ballet' Lest We Forget exceeded all expectation on its first outing. This opportunity to see it again should not be missed.
|What||English National Ballet: Lest We Forget, Sadler's Wells|
|Where||Sadler's Wells, Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R 4TN | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Angel (underground)|
19 Sep 18 – 29 Sep 18, 19:30 Thur mat 14:00, Sat mat 24:30 Dur.: 2 hours incl two intervals
|Price||£12-£60 (booking fee applies)|
|Website||Click here to book via the Sadler's Wells website|