Seven pieces in two hours. It’s a tall order for anyone, even if you are one of the planet’s most celebrated ballerinas. With a determination bordering on obsession, Natalia Osipova stretches herself to the limit in six of the seven pieces – the escapee is a male solo – including a new work from Jason Kittelberger.
The evening is bookended by classical duets. The opener is the main pas de deux from Antony Tudor’s The Leaves Are Fading, whose shimmering romance is wreathed in melancholy, while Alexei Ratmansky’s Valse Triste is the perfect complementary closer. In both pieces, Osipova ebbs and flows, soft as melting butter in David Hallberg’s arms while maintaining an inner tensile strength of sprung steel.
She hurls herself into Yuka Oishi’s gorgeous, ethereal solo Ave Maria with rare abandon and there are moments when she resembles Isadora Duncan, if Duncan had been trained by the Bolshoi.
The most impressive works are the most combative. The dark effervescence of Iván Pérez’s Flutter allows Osipova and Jonathan Goddard the opportunity to slip, swagger, jiggle and sway out of the darkness and back again, seemingly driven to dance for their lives by Nico Muhly’s accelerated vocal score.
The confrontational immediacy of Kittelberger’s Left Behind is truly startling, with Osipova and Kittelberger acting out the impossibility of ending a passionate relationship in and around a door. Its roiling physicality is brutal, loving, abusive and tender in turn as she slides down his body to cling one-handed around his neck or leaps from the top of the door into his arms.
The raw passion and beautiful ugliness of this new addition kicks the evening into another dimension.