The Royal Ballet’s first mixed bill of its 2013-14 season opens with Chroma, Wayne McGregor’s ballet that has become a modern classic. Often revived since its 2006 premiere, the piece is an expert combination of music, design and dance that has that rare combination of romantic longing and intellectual, physical and visual rigor. John Pawson’s set design and Lucy Carter’s lighting are exemplary, while the cast is excellent, with Steven McRae, Sarah Lamb and Federico Bonelli especially good on opening night.
A scene from The Right of Spring, Royal Ballet Photo: Tristram Kenton
David Dawson’s new piece The Human Season comes second, with the ballet making excellent use of the physical skills of the 13 Royal Ballet dancers, even if it rather neglects their dramatic ones. The piece is inspired John Keats’ poem of the same name which traces the cycle of life, although the ballet perhaps doesn’t evoke the variety this cycle suggests - being a fast-paced athletic work throughout. Dawson trained at the Royal Ballet School, and danced with Birmingham Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, Dutch National Ballet and Ballett Frankfurt before concentrating on choreography. This is his first work for The Royal Ballet, and its style reflects his European experience and its balletic priorities.
Last on the mixed bill was Kenneth MacMillan’s The Rite of Spring set to the infamous Stravinsky score. Made more than 50 years ago, aspects of the big-scale work betray its age, although Zenaida Yanowsky gives a skilled performance that embodies the terrifying idea of how the individual is consumed by the group.