Magazine article Musical Opinion

50 Winks at Wayne Sleep

Magazine article Musical Opinion

50 Winks at Wayne Sleep

Article excerpt

50 WINKS AT WAYNE SLEEP

I counted myself very fortunate indeed to attend a Charity Dance Gala, which was presented at Her Majesty's Theatre on 19 July in aid of the Wayne Sleep Dance Scholarship in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales. It was a splendid old-fashioned Gala, consisting of some eighteen numbers, not one of which proved to be a dud. Directed and conceived by Wayne Sleep, who used it also as a celebration of his recent 50th birthday, it gathered friends and colleagues in a riotous dance entertainment, which he called 50 winks at Wayne Sleep. The classical side of dance was represented by the immaculate Thomas Edur, first in a distinguished Solo from Paquita and then in a serene pas de deux from Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake where he was the suave partner to the elegant Muriel Valtat. In spite of the relatively small stage the dancers were able to demonstrate the full impact of this classical ballet.

Modem dance was not neglected and Michael Nunn and Mara Galeazzi were quite stunning in the lyrical pas de deux from the slow move me nt of Kenneth MacMillan 's Concerto, his poignant dance setting of Shostakovich's Second Piano Concerto. New to this country were two members of the Hartford Ballet, Timothy Melady and Melissa Wishinsky, in an athletic excerpt from Kirk Peterson's ballet Amazed in Burning Dreams, created to a vibrant score by Phillip Glass. Topping the bill by appearing last in the programme, Royal Ballet star Irek Mukhamedov partnered English National Ballet Principal Monica Perego in a flashing performance of Balanchine's Tarantella, which reminded me of how brilliant the Russian dancer can be in an unaccustomed humorous role.

Scattered throughout the evening but certainly never hogging the programme Wayne Sleep made several appearances, demonstrating his versatility and exceptional talent both as actor, dancer and mime. …

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