Review: Ballet Cymru’ Three Works, The Riverfront, Newport

Three Works, the latest presentation from Ballet Cymru which premiered at Newport’s Riverfront Theatre on Friday evening featured three major presentations that break down and challenge the concepts of ballet as a dance genre.

The first piece, Celtic Concerto is Ballet Cymru’s personal tribute to their patron, the harpist and composer Catrin Finch.  Darius James and Amy Doughty’s free-spirited and uplifting choreography not only feature the dancers unified in presentation, but also beautifully connected with the absorbing harp led music performed by Miss Finch, Sinfonia Cymru and John Rutter.

The second piece, Divided We Stand choreographed by Patricia Vallis is a freshly rejuvenated work previously featured in Ballet Cymru’s Made in Wales presentation earlier this year.

Motivated by the division in society of political views and gender, Divided We Stand has been reworked in presentation with the choreography carrying even more power and energy than before. Like the current state of the political climate, the work reflects opposition and pomposity sprinkled with elements of drama. The dancers project this from acting out political parties sparring in a style akin to boxing matches to gender activists fighting off the prejudices of their critcs and aggressors. 

The third and final piece, Wired To the Moon choreographed by Charlotte Edmonds is a work inspired by functioning systems, be they human, animal or machine and how they react to a change in the environment.

As a clock counts down above the dancers, television sets broadcast man-made technological achievements from transportation to space travel.  Dancers in city suits move aimlessly around the stage, disconnected from themselves, seemingly slaves to modern day technology such as mobile phones and social media.

To reconnect, they reject technological restraints and return to nature, rediscovering liberty, relationships and connectivity with a natural existence, but as the clock continues to count down, the presentation ponders if its not already too late. Sturdy choreography mixed with playful surrealism makes Wired to the Moon a powerful and evocative work as well as a must-see ballet presentation.

Illustrating Ballet Cymru’s range and diversity as a leading dance company, Three Works is another strong addition to the company’s on-going stage portfolio. Further performances of Three Works include the Lilian Bayliss Studio at Sadler’s Wells on the 10th and 11th of November and at Pontio in Bangor on the 29th of November.

  • All photographs: by Sian Trenberth Photography

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