Royal Ballet Celebrates Its Former Artistic Director

Kenneth MacMillan: A National Celebration at Royal Opera House ★★★★★

By Sam Smith Last edited 12 months ago

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Royal Ballet Celebrates Its Former Artistic Director Kenneth MacMillan: A National Celebration at Royal Opera House 5
Song of The Earth. Artists of The Royal Ballet by Tristram Kenton

The Royal Ballet celebrates the life of legendary choreographer Kenneth MacMillan, who died 25 years ago, by performing several of his works. These are arranged into a series of double and triple bills, and with everything danced to an extremely high standard, deciding what to see could be dictated by what you look for in a ballet.

Song of the Earth, a poignant exploration of love, loss and renewal, reveals some of the most virtuosic dancing. Tenderness and fragility in the principals’ movements are tempered by just a dash of humour in the frog or crab-like poses of the other dancers.

Ryoichi Hirano and Yasmine Naghdi in Elite Syncopations. ©ROH, 2017. Photographed by Bill Cooper

The Judas Tree is a controversial work about guilt and betrayal in a compromised time, and while its power cannot be doubted, it may not be for everyone as it portrays, or at least strongly implies, a rape.

On the other hand, no one could fail to warm to Elite Syncopations, which sees world class dancers from five companies trot and jive to the music of ragtime composers including Scott Joplin. With the band also on stage and in costume what’s not to like?

The Judas Tree. Edward Watson. ©ROH, 2017. Photographed by Bill Cooper.

Kenneth MacMillan: A National Celebration, Royal Opera House, £4-£70, 18 October -1 November 2017.

Last Updated 26 October 2017