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Hertz/Alpha Episodes/Life’s Witness

Published Friday 23 November 2012 at 15:39 by Sarah Frater

A long-running complaint in the dance world is that there are insufficient opportunities for fledgling dance makers to practise their craft. Part of this is that ballet has historically been a big-scale art form performed on big stages, which is understandably difficult for newcomers to take on. There are, however, an increasing number of smaller spaces and dance troupes, as well as schools and festivals, that provide opportunities, including the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Studio Theatre which is staging this mixed bill of new work co-commissioned with the Royal Ballet’s resident choreographer Wayne McGregor.

Edward Watson, Paul Kay and Eric Underwood in Alpha Episodes at the Linbury Studio, London

Edward Watson, Paul Kay and Eric Underwood in Alpha Episodes at the Linbury Studio, London Photo: Tristram Kenton

His influence, both stylistic and intellectual, is evident in the three works on show, which are described in the programme in scholarly detail (Alexander Whitley quotes the anthropological thinker Tim Ingold). Their style bears the contemporary focus on body shape and athleticism, as well as the articulation and extension of the limbs that might be likened to the serifs and elaborations of typefaces and fonts. None told stories in the conventional sense.

Instead, all three were plotless works. All were ably staged and dance, with Whitley and Binet creating ensemble pieces for the dancers of McGregor’s own troupe, and Mangiola crafting a pas de trois for the Royal Ballet’s Paul Kay, Eric Underwood and Edward Watson. Working with such good dancers is a great opportunity, and each brimmed with ideas. The only criticism is that each work was perhaps too long - each started well, and ended well, but flagged in the middle. Sustained choreographic effort is a challenge.

Production information

Linbury Studio Theatre, London, November 22-24

Choreographers:
Alexander Whitley, Paolo Mangiola, Robert Binet
Producers:
ROH2, Wayne McGregor/Random Dance
Cast:
Catarina Carvalho, Davide de Pretoro, Michael-John Harper, Daniela Neugebauer, Anna Nowak, Benjamin Ord, Fukiko Takase, Jessica Wright, Paul Kay, Eric Underwood, Edward Watson
Running time:
1hr 35mins

Production information displayed was believed correct at time of review. Information may change over the run of the show.

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Run sheet

King's Head, Islington London
January 24-February 15
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