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Scottish Ballet Autumn Season 2015 review at Festival Theatre, Edinburgh – ‘strong, modern ground’

Sophie Martin and Victor Zarallo in Motion of Displacement. Photo: Andy Ross. Sophie Martin and Victor Zarallo in Motion of Displacement. Photo: Andy Ross
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Springing a ‘surprise’ ballet on Scottish Ballet’s autumn tour adds an assuredly modern twist to a double bill that already pushes the bounds of what modern ballet can be.

Company dancer Sophie Laplane takes her first steps as a choreographer onto the main stage in the unannounced Maze. An unquiet piece, all angular, violently spiky movements that fit together in subtly varying duets from Madeline Squire, Claire Souet, Javier Andreu and Eado Turgeman, it shows a choreographer who is confident in her repertoire of moves and ready to set out on more narrative work.

The narrative for Bryan Arias’ contemporary Motion of Displacement is his mother’s journey from El Salvador to the United States. A world premiere commission for Scottish Ballet, there is satisfaction in his rounded vision. The ten dancers constantly push the power of escape and support in an abstract representation of the mother’s journey, but it lacks Laplane’s truly exciting edge.

Javier de Frutos has edge, command and powerful narrative in Elsa Canasta, which he has reshaped on Scottish Ballet a dozen years after its success with Rambert. Dark to the point of bleakness, yet prancing down the curved staircase that dominates the stage, its decadent, sexily wired-up Manhattan liaisons are fashioned out of the memories and wish-fulfilment of its on-stage singer, Nick Holder (male in this new version).

Using Cole Porter’s Within the Quota as its heart, nestling between a pair of Porter’s songs, this is dangerous stuff that uses and subverts classical ballet moves. Victor Zarallo and Thomas Edwards excel in their core duet, a powerful representation of So in Love, but in truth it is the whole company’s piece and will surely live long in the Scottish Ballet repertoire.

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New, emerging and mature choreographic voices show Scottish Ballet dancing on strong, modern ground