Classical Month - English National Ballet: Modern Masters @ Sadler's Wells Theatre

April 15, 2015

Here at Sternberg Clarke, we love entertainment in all its forms. We had a great time with circus month last month and are keen to see as many different things as possible! With that in mind, we headed off to check out the English National Ballet in action at Sadler's Wells as they performed three dances by 'three of the most influential choreographers of the 20th Century.'

The first dance of the evening was choreographed by Jirí Kylián and the performers danced to W.A Mozart – Piano Concerto A major KV 489, Adagio & Piano Concerto C major KV 467, Adante. The first few minutes of the dance were absolutely silent – the only sound created was coming from the fencing foils that the 6 male dancers were dancing with. It then moved on to 6 female dancers moving around the stage with big ball gown props – people in the audience were laughing out loud to this which was definitely unexpected. The sounds soon died down however as the dance became more traditional, with a male and female pair gliding beautifully around the stage. 

'Spring and Fall' was the second dance of the evening, choreographed by John Neumeier to Dvorák’s Serenade for Strings in E Major. It was graceful, springy and elegant. The costumes were quite simple – the women were in knee length white flowing dresses, and the men were in high-waisted baggy harem trousers. The dance flowed beautifully and it was possible to feel the story developing between the dancers as the music went on, heightening the anticipation for the finale.

The final dance, ‘In The Middle, Somewhat Elevated’ choreographed by William Forsythe, undoubtedly had the biggest impact. The first two dances were contemporary, but still had a strong traditional aspect to them due to the classical music and movement of the dancers. This dance was completely different however - the stage was illuminated green, the dancers were wearing dark green/black outfits and the background music was an electronic score (by Thom Willems in collaboration with Les Stuck). It was powerful, intense and exciting, culminating in a stunning crescendo.

The evening was utterly captivating and kept our attention throughout. It's not just the dancers that deserve praise either; the costumes and set design were gorgeous and some of the ways that certain props were used was wonderfully original; at one moment the female performers danced behind a gown which had a huge impact - a unique, easy and quick way to initiate a costume change.

All in all, this was a wonderful evening's entertainment and we can't wait for the next event in our classical music month

Cover photo features Ksenia Ovsyanick and James Forbat in Petite Mort. Copyright David Jenson. 

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By Felicity Heath and Henry Fosdike