The Royal Ballet and English National Ballet present two of Kenneth MacMillan’s most complex and important works, in the second programme of Kenneth MacMillan: a National Celebration. Two nights only – tonight, 24 October (Lauren Cuthbertson, Thiago Soares, Edward Watson, Reece Clarke and Artists of the two companies), and 1 November (Melissa Hamilton, Bennet Gartside, Matthew Ball, Calvin Richardson).
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 the second of these programmes, The Royal Ballet and English National Ballet dance two adult and complex works that show MacMillan at his most searching and ambitious.
The Royal Ballet dances The Judas Tree, created in 1992. It was MacMillan’s final ballet and is still his most controversial. It returns to themes that occupied MacMillan throughout his career – an exploration of collective guilt, and the violent consequences of a rule of fear.
Song of the Earth from 1965, danced by English National Ballet, meditates on ideas of love, loss and renewal, to Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde. At its premiere it was acclaimed as a masterpiece, and remains one of MacMillan’s most powerful and beautiful ballets.
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.