Alina Cojocaru’s curated programme is, as the saying goes, a game of two halves. Pre-interval, a selection of three contemplative, tender works by contemporary choreographers Tim Rushton, Juliano Nunes and Johan Kobborg are performed, along with two short films directed by Kim Brandstrup focusing intensely on the beguiling Romanian ballerina and her past, plus an introductory performance of Handel’s Passacaglia for Violin and Cello.
Post-interval, Frederick Ashton’s frothy, one-act melodrama Marguerite and Armand is staged, with Cojocaru in the lead role accompanied by Francesco Gabriele Frola as Armand.
Although the sheer number of different parts ensures the first half of the programme is a bit fluttery in its focus, it is also far more interesting. In Handel’s frenetic, tumbling duet (performed by Margarita Balanas and Charlie Siem) the violin and cello skirt, chase and align with one another like the footsteps of rush-hour commuters. And, likewise, the beauty of the disparate, brief dances resides in the interplay between Cojocaru and the other dancers.
Reminiscence, the second piece, is a pas de deux with her offstage partner and fiancé, Kobborg. If that dynamic is expected to produce a frisson, it fails. But what it does engender is an endearing lovingness to their playful, kittenish exchanges.
In contrast, Journey places Cojocaru between Nunes and Dominic Harrison. She slithers, slides and curves between the male dancers like rolling beads of mercury. It’s a powerful reminder of Cojocaru’s astonishing talents, even though the selected pieces don’t always make the most of them.