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Stravinsky! A Celebration - Dumbarton Oaks/Duo Concertant/Scénes de Ballet/The Rite of Spring

Published Wednesday 15 June 2005 at 14:20 by Pat Ashworth

Stravinsky’s concerto Dumbarton Oaks inspired in Michael Kopinsky images of moths drawn to the light. Against a background of magnified floral wallpaper motifs, Asta Bazaviciute and Iain Mackay capture the fragility, strength, impudence and recklessness of that insect’s movement, sometimes dazed and stilled by the light and eventually destroyed by it. It is a fine performance from all seven dancers.

Elisha Willis and Robert Parker explore the music of the Balanchine ballet, Duo Concertant, with a deep intensity and in studied and thoughtful movement. Held in suspension in the opening moments, they listen attentively to the solo violin of Robert Gibbs and solo piano of Jonathan Higgins before mirroring the music in movement that is at first searching and experimental.

The movement is exquisite, culminating in a pulling away and separation that isolates each dancer - and sometimes a single face or arm - in two individual pools of light on the darkened stage. Wills and Parker are the principal couple too in the jubilant and flamboyant Scenes de Ballet. But is the Rite of Spring that is the most extraordinary piece in the programme, danced as it is to Nijinsky’s original choreography and with the startling blaze of baggy tribal costumes reconstructed from Nicholas Roerich’s original designs.

With its urgent, relentless rhythms and heavy-footed mass pounding of the stage, the whole thing is quite extraordinary in its power and savagery. Carol-Anne Millar is the Chosen Maiden, dancing with a knock-kneed movement and contorted stance that is deliberately ungainly but curiously compelling. A ballet once seen, never forgotten.

Production information

The Hippodrome, Birmingham, June 8-11

Igor Stravinsky
Michael Kopinsky, George Balanchine, Frederick Ashton, Millicent Hodson after Vaslav Nijinsky
Birmingham Royal Ballet
Cast includes:
Asta Bazaviciute, Iain Mackay, Elisha Willis, Robert Parker, Carol-Anne Millar
Running time:
2hrs 15mins

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