The Royal Ballet celebrates the diversity and richness of contemporary ballet with a mixed programme that includes an established classic, a recent work and a world premiere: David Dawson’s first work for The Royal Ballet, an acclaimed ballet by Christopher Wheeldon and a new creation by Crystal Pite.
Canadian choreographer, Pite, is one of the most interesting and loved names in dance today; her many awards include an Olivier and a Critics’ Circle Award for Polaris at Sadler’s Wells. She makes her Royal Ballet debut with a large-scale ensemble work to music by Górecki.
The Human Seasons
Dawson is a leading figure in European ballet and in 2005 became the first British choreographer to create a new work for the Mariinsky Ballet. His 2013 ballet The Human Seasons for The Royal Ballet was inspired by Keats’s poem of the same name, which describes the course of a human life.
After the Rain
Wheeldon created After the Rain in 2005 for New York City Ballet to music by Arvo Pärt. This abstract work in two parts has found an extraordinary resonance with audiences around the world.
Pite’s Flight Pattern, her first creation for The Royal Ballet, began with a choice of music: Górecki’s Symphony of Sorrowful Songs.
With its themes of motherhood and separation of families as a result of war, the symphony is often associated with the Holocaust, although the composer denied this association. In 2017, however, these themes take on a new meaning in the context of the refugee crisis; a subject Pite feels unable to ignore.
I feel that… this creation is my way of coping with the world at the moment.
As I’ve been working on the piece I feel a sense of being overwhelmed and being crushed or pressurized by the subject. I wonder if I have the capacity to manage something so overwhelming; but it’s through dance, only through dance, that I have any hope of speaking clearly and truthfully about something that I care so deeply about.
The work explores the displacement of millions of refugees across the world, using a cast of 36 dancers to portray a large-scale portrait before zooming in to focus on individual, human relationships.
One of the things I love about working in theatre is that collaborative aspect, the feeling of building something together that is bigger than all of us.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.