A little bit over a year ago I didn’t know who Frederick Ashton was. Now that I am passionate about ballet, it has been an exciting journey to learn about his work and how important his role was not only to the Royal Ballet, but also to shaping what ballet is today.
I went with no expectations about the Ashton bill last night, and also due to personal stuff I was not in the ballet mood. What do I mean about ballet mood? For me is when you are overthinking stuff and can’t be bothered to comprehend what is happening on stage. Well I am glad I went; at the end of the night I had this feel good sensation and a smile. I guess Morgan was right, ballet really does cheer you up!
Well enough of random ramblings and let’s get started with…
Monotones I and II
First things first – the costumes look like condoms! Now that I got that off my chest, I will take that comment back because the costumes were… not that bad. They are not photogenic but once you see them live you will appreciate their little details combined with the dark staging, the dancing, and the score.
Out of the two pas de trois, Monotones I was my favourite. The music by Satie is simply amazing – note to self: find the score – and I loved how powerful it was.
Lately I have become a huge fan of Tristan Dyer and can’t wait to see him in more principal roles – whoever called him anonymous for R+J needs to see him in this and in The Two Pigeons. Emma Maguire is someone who is slowly taking the spotlight and after seeing her here and in Viscera, can’t wait to see more of her. Yasmine Naghdi is still a star in the making and she knows how to shine on the stage even if she has to wear a green costume.
The choreography showcases what British ballet is all about – still positions, graceful arabesques, and the beauty and delicacy of the moving body.
Monotones II didn’t create quite the impact as I. I do love Edward Watson and Marianela Nunez, and both of them were stellar. However, this time the score fell flat since it didn’t have that extra humph from the I bit. Finally it seemed that the three dancers were not connected as the first group. Maybe I was the one who felt disconnected? I just remember lots of long walks.
Now for the big comeback of the night…
The Two Pigeons
Last performed by the Royal Ballet in 1985, everyone had high expectations and boy did it deliver. In simple words it is a feel good ballet. Now that I am more familiar with Ashton’s work I could see some of his traits on this: a hint of comedy, the classic dance, love, and some folklore with the gypsies. Also the speed! Some dances were so fast that if someone missed, it could have been a hot mess.
Lauren Cuthbertson was the perfect choice as the Young Girl. Her comedic timing was spot on and she knew how to morph from a classical ballerina to a stubborn girl who couldn’t keep still. Her performance bounced perfectly with Vadim Muntagirov’s Young Man. The bar was set high by her so future ballerinas have to step it up.
I’ll be honest about Vadim, I always saw him as a good dancer but not the greatest actor, until now. He is still young and his performances are improving a lot. The role of the Young Man seemed like it was created just for him. Also it seems that Vadim is enjoying characters who get tied up – bad joke.
The real star of the night was Laura Morera. Ay Dios mio, que caliente! This girl is on fire snatching everyone’s men and wigs left and right. She fooled us that she really loved Vadim but in the end she was just another temptress of the night.
The Two Pigeons would not be complete without the Artists of the Royal Ballet. Again the corps of ballet delivered and for me they made the ballet enjoyable. The girls with big dresses and their attitude, while the guys with their sharp moves and cockiness, they were simply great. I think my jaw dropped when they were dancing in a huge circle, all in sync, where everything had to be precise or chaos would ensue. Honestly, I do believe the corps the ballet is what makes a ballet special.
It was an enjoyable night to disconnect from the world. Everyone had a blast and left with a big smile on their face. I have to say that I am looking forward to seeing this again in the New Year.
In the end one of the pigeons pooped, which means this will be a successful run!
See you next time to find out what He says about The Nutcracker.
Don’t forget to see She Says: The Royal Ballet – Monotones I and II, The Two Pigeons