Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Scheherazade the Ballet - Ireland

Posting's been a bit light during job application season, my apologies, but the Nights rolls on, and will do so, regardless... here's news on Scheherazade, a ballet currently touring in Ireland, from the Irish Times:

Link: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/features/2011/1028/1224306620296.html

"Choreographer Morgann Runacre-Temple bravely created a full-length Scheherazade for Ballet Ireland, now the National Ballet of Ireland, tackling the tale of an Arabian king who beheads a slew of virgin wives. Not your typical ballet narrative, Scheherazade begs for big, sultry movements to match Rimsky-Korsakov’s grandiose score, but the best part of this production was the behind-the-scenes artistic team, not what we actually saw on stage.

Designer Lorna Ritchie’s parachute-sized swathe of white silk served as the main set piece augmented by Paul Keogan’s lighting, and the silk took on a life of its own, sometimes meriting more attention than the dancers. It morphed from bedroom decor to window dressing to a ship’s mast, loosely carrying the ballet forward as a backdrop for Scheherazade’s stories.

Katherine Kingston and David Horn offered dependable characterisations of King Shahryar and Scheherazade, but their roles lacked dynamism. While Runacre-Temple adroitly handled the king knocking off his other wives in what could have been the most off-putting part of the story – little gems like this were nearly lost with everything else going on.

The dancing almost crescendoed when eight men presented a potentially powerful nautical number, but instead of testosterone-fuelled movement, the steps remained even-keeled. Throughout the ballet, Kieran Stoneley proved the most interesting dancer to watch.

Stoneley first appeared as a magician, beguiling us with his wonderfully sinister demeanour – a seductive character in a melee of princesses, sultans and magic lamps. As a member of the corps, he burst beyond the ordinary steps with his compelling presence, exactly the calibre of artist the company should be trying to attract.

The iconic American choreographer, Mark Morris, once said his best advice to young choreographers is “not to put everything you know into one ballet”, and rather than creating such busy scenes, Runacre-Temple would do well to allow personalities like Stoneley to dazzle on their own.
Runs until Saturday, then on national tour until December 18"

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