Review: Ballet Cymru – Made In Wales, The Riverfront, Newport

Its great to see a healthy turn-out for a ballet presentation and such was the case at Newport’s Riverfront Theatre on Tuesday evening . Cutting edge dance company Ballet Cymru’s Made In Wales.not only showcases the talent of young dancers but also puts the spotlight on a rich pallet of 6 ballet sequences created by Wales-based choreographers Alex Hallas, Jack Philp, Emma Lewis, Patricia Vallis, Darius James OBE and Amy Doughty.

Embracing traditional, classic and contemporary, the evening got underway with Spark Youth Dance’s vibrant and energetic curtain raiser, Emma Carlson’s A Place of Tomorrow. Tight choreography with a magical air of wonderment and wildness dominated the piece throughout. A joy to watch, I hope I’ll catch more of Spark Youth Dance’s work in the future.

Excerpts from A Childs Christmas and Poems and Tigers Eggs brought Darius James OBE and Amy Doughty’s breath-taking choreography together with Mason Neely and Cerys Matthews music and Dylan Thomas’ poetry (read by Matthews via a recorded soundtrack). Thomas’ work has never had such a more relevant feel as classic and contemporary fuse on stage as Thomas’ classic stories are retold through the medium of dance.

Originality is a strong contributor to this presentation and Emma Lewis’s As We Are puts Ballet Cymru students’ different cultures in the spotlight displaying how they connect, communicate and interact. I found As we Are a particularly strong piece, and was drawn by how both unity and segregation can be expressed so powerfully through the dance medium.

Concerto Jenkins, choreographed by Alex Hallas expresses the classical pieces of musician Karl Jenkins and brought the first half of the presentation to a dramatic and memorable close. Combining high-energy ballet with contemporary dance, Concerto Jenkins looked as impressive as the music sounded in tone, pace and presentation.

The strong pace continued as the second half got underway with Jack Philp’s Ex Situ, displaying how the classical form can be altered with human intervention against an electronica soundtrack and strong sound-scaping.

Last but not least, Patricia Vallis’s Divided We Stand brings Made In Wales bang up to date with a piece inspired by the B word (Brexit) whilesimilarly looking at gender, race and division. Divided We Stand is both a playful and serious piece in content but contains some excellent choreography. A personal highlight for me was the movement and juxtaposition of two of the lead dancers under blue and red spotlights.

An ideal introduction to the world of contemporary ballet for all ages, Made In Wales is relevant, exciting and visually captivating, with something to appeal to everybody no matter how much you are in to the medium of ballet.

  • There’s another chance to catch Ballet Cymru’s Made In Wales at The Dance House in Wales Millennium Centre on March 22.

  • For further details visit

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