Birmingham Royal Ballet are due an immense amount of credit. In Jessica Lang, they have found a rare female choreographer, the likes of which are more difficult to find even than young and original choreographers.
Yang’s exceptional and powerful stage imagination have helped to enhance the dance known as Lyric Piece, which was created by the company earlier this calendar year. Without Yang, the piece is conventional enough, featuring elements that are not particularly groundbreaking. The steps carried out by the dancers clad all in grey are from a well-known and classical range.
The choreographer’s twist is particularly unique however; as she has the cast construct the set as they move around the stage. Concertinaed black paper is seamlessly moved into numerous positions with consummate grace; it is stretched into walls and pillars, crafted into mazes and spread out in the style of a Japanese fan.
The relationship between dance and stage is incredibly organic as the dancers weave amongst the shapes they themselves have erected, as new landscapes are constructed to suit the tone set by each musical piece which accompanies the dance.
Lang was previously a dancer alongside Twyla Tharp, and like her previous partner she has a great capacity to use a vast and eclectic array of ideas and colours without overwhelming the audience or the performance, and she is able to retain her individual approach. In Lyric Piece, she arranges the cast into an intricate and delicate series of lines, allowing wonderful synergy between a modern wit and traditional romance.
Sadly Take Five, the David Bintley production that was created five years ago, cannot be the subject of the same praise. Dave Brubeck’s soundtrack is reduces to an almost unceasing zest as the male choreography attempts to venture into more outlandish areas.