In this production at Albert Hall, the ballet of Strictly Gershwin still remains a strange element amid the gorgeous Gershwin tunes, the ballroom dancing, the singing and the out all razzmatazz.
In 2008 when ENB first staged Strictly Gershwin the critical reaction was something like this; super show but this has nothing to so with ballet. Three years later and the same problem is present. Amidst the Gershwin tunes, the ballroom dancing, the singing and the all out razzamatazz no show that has strictly in its name can not have razzmatazz – therefore the strange element remains ballet.
Derek Deane the director has elaborated a bubbling champagne flute of a night but his choreography the dancers in the company is quite vin ordinaire. Or could it be the choreography should it be that classical ballet simply does not belong is Strictly Gershwin.
One says tomato and the other say tom-ah-to if you get what I am saying. At time it was reminiscent of days at ballet school there were teenage parties and they danced to the Pointer Sisters in turned-out feet: physical relaxation was not natural but the worldly rhythms of Gershwin definitely demand it.
It is all right with the pairing for ballroom dancing of Bryan Watson and Carmen who perform a rumba to the tune It Ain’t Necessarily So that would melt the gold from Prince Albert’s statue across the road. And the evening is full of delights as Maria Friedman sings gloriously from start to finish. Daria Klimentova, oozing class ripples her spine to Summertime a song that just might lend itself to what – a balletic movement?
Also not to forget is the guest presence of Tamara Rojo and great bonus. She deployed her creamy and refined sensuality as she danced the girl staging for the American in Paris ballet that is taken straight from the film but even the lovely Rojo is defeated by the spins and ports de bras of the extravaganza.