British choreographer Kenneth MacMillan transformed ballet, through an extraordinary career that expanded the boundaries of the art form. To mark the 25th anniversary of his death The Royal Ballet celebrates his remarkable work with three mixed programmes that bring together the UK's five leading ballet companies in Kenneth MacMillan: a National Celebration.
In the first of these programmes, all five companies come together in a programme that pairs two of MacMillan's sunniest ballets with a new production of his dark, classical fairytale.
Birmingham Royal Ballet dances Concerto. It was created in 1966 for Berlin Ballet and quickly became a staple of the British repertory. Like Shostakovich's Second Piano Concerto to which it is set, the piece pays tribute to both the talent and the discipline of the artist.
Scottish Ballet presents a new production of Le Baiser de la fée (The Fairy's Kiss), MacMillan's 1960 setting of Stravinsky's original ballet score. Like Stravinsky before him, MacMillan pays homage to classical ballet in virtuoso steps, but cast in his own dark and psychologically penetrating style.
Finally, Elite Syncopations from 1974 is danced by dancers from BRB, English National Ballet, Northern Ballet, The Royal Ballet and Scottish Ballet, all revelling in the rhythmic strut of the ballet's joyous ragtime score.
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.