Magazine article Musical Opinion

New Zealand Royal Ballet at Sadler's Wells

Magazine article Musical Opinion

New Zealand Royal Ballet at Sadler's Wells

Article excerpt

New Zealand Royal Ballet at Sadler's Wells

The week-long visit by the New Zealand Royal Ballet to the Sadler's Wells Theatre gave two programmes, both of which were great fun if not the greatest ballet. The triple bill on 27 April was very entertaining with only the middle work by Javier Dc Frutos being rather pretentious and not a little boring. Set to a strange piano roll version of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring it had its twelve dancers, both male and female, dressed in voluminous white dresses, turning in endless circles and giving no real meaning to their plodding movements. The first ballet of the evening, Christopher Hampson's Saltarello, danced to breezy 14th-Century music, showed the dancers, clad in slinky silver and black costumes of the utmost sophistication, pirouetting and leaping energetically to escape from the severe scrutiny of their community. Inspired by a witty story from the Decameron, the ballet was at once elegant and explosive. The programme ended with Mark Baldwin's FrENZy, a modern ballet, full of zoot-suits and swimming costumes, which celebrated the music of New Zealand's most famous rock band, Split Enz. It was wildly eccentric and Ben Conquest was brilliant in the engaging number, Nobody Takes Me Seriously. The dance was brash and witty in its instant appeal.

On 29 April the company presented Christopher Hampson's new version of Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet. The choreographer has set the work in the 21st century and, although it followed the basic plot of McMillan's classical version, it had all the glamour of Fellini's La Dolce Vita and much of the atmosphere of West Side Story. …

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