Boston is not famed for its ballet talent, but perhaps it should be, if last night's quadruple bill is anything to go by. In varied works by George Balanchine, Vaslav Nijinsky and Jorma Elo, created across almost a century, Boston Ballet truly excelled.
Balanchine’s Serenade opened the programme and was undoubtedly the highlight. To Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings, dancers in ankle-length tutus formed an array of beautiful patterns, with a trail of shadow-like pale blue tulle lingering behind each movement. The ballet is all about the joy of movement and the company revelled in it, particularly Misa Kuranaga, with her incredible quick spins, sprightly jumps and vivacious quality.
Nijinsky’s Afternoon of a Faun premiered in 1912 and has little in the way of traditional ‘dance’. Instead, the choreography is about creating striking shapes with explicit undertones and again the company shone with Altan Dugaraa making a powerful and compelling Faun.
The most modern work, from 2004, was Elo’s Plan to B, in which swirling and rippling movements gradually increase in pace until a sudden and unexpected ending. Elo’s choreography is not as innovative or exciting as other contemporary choreographers, but it is far from dull to watch, especially when performed by six Boston Ballet dancers who seem at complete ease with its athleticism and strenuousness.
The weakest work, Balanchine’s Symphony in Three Movements (pictured), closed the evening. Accompanied by an impenetrable score by Stravinsky, 32 dancers in monochrome and pink practice clothes performed numerous large jumps and bouncy runs. The choreography felt rushed and repetitive, and the stage was often overcrowded with different dancers performing conflicting movements.
A lady sitting next to us commented that it was the first quadruple bill she’d ever seen where she’d liked all four works. Whilst we would have preferred just the first three, Boston Ballet is a company on top form and well-worth seeing at the Coliseum this week.
Boston Ballet is at the London Coliseum until 7 July, performing two programmes. Programme 1 (as reviewed) is on tonight, Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon. Programme 2 (Polyphonia / Bella Figura / The Second Detail) is on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon. Tickets priced £10-75 are available from the Coliseum website. Londonist received a complimentary ticket to this performance.
Pictured: Boston Ballet in Symphony in Three Movements / Photo: Gene Schiavone