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Ivan Putrov’s Men in Motion review at London Coliseum – ‘an incoherent programme’

Marian Walter in Men In Motion at London. Photo: Tristram Kenton Marian Walter in Men In Motion at London. Photo: Tristram Kenton
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Thirteen dance works in one evening may seem like a bargain. But for this latest programme curated by Ivan Putrov to explore the role of the male dancer over the last century it is flirting with misfortune. Though well connected enough to corral world class dancers the former Royal Ballet Principal cannot bring the disparate elements together.

The opening piece by Daniel Proietto is a dreadful miscalculation. In front of a red curtain emblazoned with a hashtag in place of the expected swastika, Proietto delivers an interminable monologue addressing current political issues (Putin, Trump, LGBT rights, anti-semitism) while wearing a fascist uniform. An outbreak of boos and slow hand-clapping towards the end as he delivers Chaplin’s Great Dictator speech set the tone from which the first half never recovered.

Efficient solos from Staatsballett Berlin Principal Marian Walter and a decent reading of the third movement of Christopher Bruce’s Swansong by Matthew Ball are mildly cheering but Putrov’s entrance in Le Spectre de la Rose is pathetic; instead of the Nijinsky leap required he sort of hops over the windowsill.

Proietto almost redeems himself with his solo in Russell Maliphant’s Afterlight (Part One) which suggests a man at the bottom of a well showering in sunlight.

The second half is much better. Ballet 101 is genuinely funny with Giovanni Princic racing through every ballet position at the whim of a disembodied voice; Putrov recovers his energy in System/AI duetting with Matthew Ball’s mail order robot and Irek Mukhamedov has tremendous fun as a vodka-swigging, tambourine-bashing street-dweller. He couldn’t save the evening but at least he put a smile on the faces of those who remained.

“Dance is superior to all other arts forms” – read The Stage’s interview with Ivan Putrov

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Too many choreographers spoil the dance in an incoherent programme from Ivan Putrov