The Scottish Ballet has been completely changed by director Ashley Page who is leaving the company in 2012. He has changed the ballet into a forward thinking and dynamic company. This is seem through a double bill programme which is premièring at the Edinburgh International Festival.
Boston Ballet’s choreographer is Elo, and he is not very well known in Britain although he does have a very attractive style, if his production of Kings 2 Ends is anything to go by. The production is an interesting mix of classical and contemporary styles.
Kings 2 Ends opens with a dance number that is not accompanied by any music. This establishes many of the themes that run through the production. It sees the dancers perform distortions that curve their arms and involve small gestures with the hands. It really gives a sense that the performers are swimming through the stage space.
After this, Steve Reich’s Double Sextet accompanies the dancers as they move in syncopated lines and show an exhilarating vigour. This involves the entire cast and is a fantastic part of the production. The whole mood of the ballet changes yet again when the music switches to pieces by Mozart, and this sees all the dancers split into smaller groups and all wear red shirts.
The lighting of the ballet is very well put together and as the mood of the production changes, so does the lighting. The Mozart is played by James Clarke who does a superb job. The dancers have more classical movements here but they are often interspersed with modern patterns.
Song of the Earth, is accompanied by a Mahler score and played by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. This part sees the dancers have some difficulty performing the simple yet tricky moves that are a part of this performance. Mahler set some of his music to Chinese poems from the 8th century. This influence can be seen in some of the dancing as there are definite Eastern inflections in the choreography. The messenger role is danced by Adam Blyde and Sophie Martin plays the woman. Both do the roles much justice.