Kim Brandstrup, Ceremony of Innocence
Danish dance maker Kim Brandstrup’s Ceremony of Innocence is a narrative piece set to Britten’s Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge and created in 2013 to mark the composer’s centenary. Shifting between past and present, it shows an older Britten looking jealously on as his remembered young self leaps with spirit and spontaneity across his memory.
It is an elegy to lost youth, at once bitter and winning. Known for his ability to condense dramatic structure in his choreography, Brandstrup’s work is full of nuanced emotion and ambiguity served by profoundly eloquent choreographic forms.
The design for Ceremony of Innocence is by regular Brandstrup collaborator Leo Warner: a sketched seafront backdrop that crumbles with time into cross-hatched waves.
Liam Scarlett, the Age of Anxiety (new)
A precocious talent from the Royal Ballet, Liam Scarlett's wonderfully lyrical first work for the Royal Ballet ( Asphodel Meadows, 2011) was so accomplished it was hard to believe it came from a 25-year old. His choreographic path has since led him to explore darker themes, including the story of Jack the Ripper and a decidedly dark and controversial take on Hansel and Gretl.
Scarlett’s new work, though, marks yet another departure. This time his source is WH Auden’s narrative poem, The Age of Anxiety, whose lyricism left composer Leonard Bernstein ‘breathless’ and prompted him to write the symphony that forms Scarlett’s score.
The ballet follows four solitary drinkers in a bar, three men and one woman, who, as they get gradually drunk, share profound notes on life’s illusions. Scarlett’s choreography is usually moody, sexy and suggestive, with plenty of character back-story; Auden’s long poem, however, is introspective and philosophical, so it will be interesting to see what dramatic devices Scarlett will use to bring it to life.
Christopher Wheeldon, Aeternum
The final piece is another response to Britten: Christopher Wheeldon’s Aeternum, choreographed on Britten’s 1940 Sinfonia da Requiem . Here music and choreography blend seamlessly to illustrate wartime desolation and horror and become a moving tribute to the fallen of WWII.
Wheeldon’s choreography is fiercely original and in its first run surprised even those familiar with his innovations.The opening silence compels the audience into expectant attention. Thereafter, the ballet deals with violence of death and killing in a series of striking images, before slowly moving towards a resolution that hints at peace in eternity.
|What||Ceremony of Innocence / The Age of Anxiety / Aeternum, The Royal Ballet|
|Where||Royal Opera House, Bow Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9DD | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Covent Garden (underground)|
07 Nov 14 – 17 Nov 14, 7:30 PM – 10:00 PM
|Website||Click here to book via Royal Opera House|