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Boston Ballet, Programme 2

Published Monday 8 July 2013 at 15:15 by Sarah Frater

After the predominantly heritage ballets of its first programme, Boston Ballet’s second mixed bill focused on the work of contemporary dance makers. It was an impressive snapshot of international choreography from the past 25 years, all plotless ensemble ballets, including the American William Forsythe, the British Christopher Wheeldon and the Czech Jiria Kylia. The choice suggests that Helsinki-born company artistic director of ten years Mikko Nissinen is focused on key international trends, with the performance of the three works catching the essence of their makers. The least successful of an otherwise strong evening was the company’s dancing of William Forsythe’s The Second Detail. Originally made in 1991 for the National Ballet of Canada, it is signature early Forsythe, with his trademark exaggeration of ballet’s harmonies into a show-off display of witty, technical wizardry.

A scene from Boston Ballet Programme 2 at the Coliseum, London

A scene from Boston Ballet Programme 2 at the Coliseum, London Photo: Tristram Kenton

However, while the cast performed Forsythe’s athleticism with flair, they were less good at his choreographic observation that ballet is not the pretty, floaty art form of popular imagination but a tough and glittering show-case of skill and daring.

The company were more assured in Christopher Wheeldon’s mesmerising Polyphonia, which he made for New York City Ballet back in 2001. It is set to Gyorgy Ligeti’s shimmering compostions, and the dancers exactly captured the spirit of the thistle-down softness of the steps. Jiri Kylian’s more densely texture Bella Figura closed the evening. Although plotless, the piece implies intense emotions that the Boston Ballet dancers ably conveyed.

Overall, the company’s short visit - its first for 30 years - reveals the company to possess fine dancers and a confident director.

Production information

Coliseum, London, July 5-6

Thom Willems, Gyorgy Ligeti, Lukas Foss, Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, Alessandro Marcello, Antonio Vivaldi, Giuseppe Torelli
William Forsythe, Christopher Wheeldon, Jiri Kylian
Mikko Nissinen
Boston Ballet
Adiarys Almeida, Paulo Arrais, Isaac Akiba, Kathleen Breen Combes, Bo Busby, Dusty Button, Jeffrey Cirio, Lia Cirio, Rachel Cossar, Paul Craig, Sylvia Deaton, Altan Dugaraa, Ashley Ellis, Lorna Feijoo, Joseph Gatti, Rie Ichikawa, Whitney Jensen, Laha Khozashvili, Misa Kuranaga, John Lam, Dalay Parrondo, Bradley Schlagheck, Sabi Varga, Sarah Wroth, Yury Yanowsky, Patrick Yocum
Running time:
2hrs 20mins

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 2014