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Synergy review at Britten Theatre London

To pair fledgling composers and choreographers could seem like a good idea. Certainly it provides the participants with a working insight into each other’s disciplines but it’s perhaps less certain that it will result in a successful ballet.

All the choreographers who took part in English National Ballet’s Synergy programme – part of the Open Rehearsal initiative – have created pieces for the company’s choreographic workshops and had been nominated by artistic director Wayne Eagling. As is customary, the company’s dancers, from every level, gave their all. But a firmer directorial guiding hand and a more specific choice of subject might have led to a happier outcome.

Van Le Ngoc’s Les Emotions took the forest as it’s inspiration. The opening with dancers swaying gently like trees set the scene but after that the choreographer seemed to be unsure of just what kind of work he was making. And despite the lengthy programme note I had difficulty in linking the six episodes of Maria Ribo Pares’ Enlightened to what I saw on stage.

Appropriately that very classical dancer Thomas Edur put the women in his Anima into pointe shoes. But that was the only traditional element in his choreography which appeared to rely largely on the flexibility of the women, their willingness to be manipulated like play-dough and their partners’ ability to manhandle them.

Yat-Sen Chang made the four elements the theme of his In The Beginning and managed to convey the sense of this in fast, fluent classical movement, with some passages of real virtuosity.

Production Information

Britten Theatre, London, September 29-30

Van Le Ngoc, Maria Ribo Pares, Thomas Edur, Yat-Sen Chang
English National Ballet
Cast includes
Simone Clarke, Dmiti Gruzdyev, Sarah McIlroy, Yosvani Ramos. Eirina Takahashi, Arional Vargas
Running time
1hr 50mins