Sunday, 19 February 2017

Danza Contemporanea de Cuba at the Lowry

Andrés Ascanio and Heriberto Meneses
in Reversible
Photo Johan Persson
Reproduced with kind permission of the Company 

Danza Contemporanea de Cuba, Triple Bill, The Lowry, 17 Feb 2017

"Every cloud has a silver lining" so they say.  Some compensation for missing Made in Amsterdam and Juniors Go Dutch (see Thinking of Amsterdam 18 Feb 2017) was the opportunity to see Danza Contemporanea de Cuba at the Lowry. We might well have missed them altogether had we not seen them this weekend for their tour takes them just about everywhere in the UK except where we live or can reach conveniently.  The circumstances that caused us to cancel our trip may actually have done us a favour.  The Netherlands are just across the North Sea and are as easy and often very much cheaper to reach as many parts of our own country. We can see the wonderful Dutch National Ballet more or less any time. Cuba, however, is several thousand miles away and quite a different country. We don't get a chance to see its national contemporary dance company quite so easily.

The company was quite different from any that I had ever seen before. They seemed to move quite differently. I couldn't put my finger on it until a question and answer session after the performance when Miguel Iglesias, the company's artistic director, explained that classical and classically trained dancers move from their solar plexuses whereas his dancers moved from their hips.  They were unbelievably daring, especially in Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's Reversible which explored gender differences and stereotypes and the relationships between the sexes with men wearing skirts and the women trousers and not all that much else.

The evening started with Reversible which was choreographed by Annabelle López Ochoa who had choreographed Scottish Ballet's Streetcar Named Desire (see Scottish Ballet's Streetcar 2 April 2015) and has contributed a new ballet called Little Red Riding Hood to Ballet Black which will be premiered at the Barbican nxt month (see Beautiful Ballet Black 14 Jan 2017). Reversible began with a man and a woman hoisted shoulder high with their supporters around. The man and woman try to dress but then discard their garments.  In a strange half lit scene, a sort of ritual is conducted between the two groups. It is a very short piece - barely 30 minutes - but a lot is squeezed into that time. The score consisting of music by the composers I listed in Double Latin.  Seventeen dancers performed that work. A great start to the show.

The Listening Room created by British dance maker Theo Clinkard had a score that was audible to the audience but each of the dancers heard very different ones through headphones.  I would not have guessed that had it not been for the Q and A which was chaired by Clinkard.  Asked by a member of the audience to explain his work, Clinkard replied that he wanted the dancers to communicate what they were hearing solely through the movements of their bodies. An interesting suggestion by Janet McNulty whom we sought out in the second interval was that it represented modern social life (or rather the lack of it) with people glaring into their 'phones and motioning incommunicado in their headphones. That interpretation worked for me just as well as Clinkard's. The music was Variations for Vibes, Pianos and Strings by Steve Reich who had composed Drumming III which had been used by Ballet Black (see Ballet Black made my Manchester Day 28 June 2016). The music that the artists heard was all sorts. There was a lot going in that piece - perhaps a little too much - but the work ended with a solitary figure moving ever closer to the front of the stage as the curtain descended and them lying on his side to give one last farewell.

In the questions and answers, a gentleman who introduced himself as a Cuban national and asked part of his question in Spanish asked why there was not more Cuban material.  "A fair point," I thought, given that the first two works had been contributed by an Amsterdam based and English choreographer. Having said that the dancers seemed to have naturalized both of those pieces and made them their own.  The Cuban contribution was Matria Etnocentra wby George Céspedes.  It started out rather with what appeared to be troops drilling on a parade ground with a red star on each of the dancer's uniform but it quickly transformed into a celebration.  A very exuberant work reminding me in its exuberance of Edward Lynch's NightLife at the Flamingo which I reviewed in There's a reason why Phoenix was my contemporary company of the year 11 Feb 2017. In the end, this was my favourite work though I liked the other two pieces very much too.

A lady in the audience who said she was Guatemalan told us how proud she was even though she was from another Latin American country. Several audience members expressed their appreciation of the work and asked for more Cuban content rather than less. This company has visited England twice before in the last 6 years but I had never seen them. I think the reason is that I could not quite associate contemporary dance with Cuba. That is because Cuba is a socialist and hence command society well suited to ballet but perhaps not quite so tolerant of a dance form that is inherently individualistic and self-expressive.

Yet this is a company that has existed since 1959, the year Dr Castro and his revolutionaries swept into Havana. One of the audience members, another Spanish speaker, asked Miguel Iglesias how he felt after the death of Castro. Visibly moved (so much that Laura Rios who was sitting next to him offered the director her support) Iglesias described Castro as the country's father figure who had underscored his parents' values. On Castro's death, I acknowledged the late president's contribution to ballet in his country (see Castro and Cuban Ballet 28 Nov 2016). It seemed he made a similar contribution to contemporary dance too. Before the Q & A I was going to ask whether there was an equivalent in contemporary dance of Alicia Alonso in ballet. Listening to Iglesias I realized that I had the answer to that question and he was talking to me. 

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Missing Amsterdam!

Sadly, I can't be at the Meervaart to see the Dutch National Ballet Junior Company today but I can learn something about two of the dancers from a vlog ("video blog") put together by Timothy van Poucke from Woerden and Salome Leverashvili from Tblisi.

So far, I have found the following three videos:
  • Vlog # 1 Q & A Time:  Tim and Salome introduce themselves while sitting on Pilates balls and ask each other questions. We learn, for example, that Salome identifies with flamingos because they are pink and skinny, that Tim once accomplished 10 pirouettes and Salome 7, that they both like cooking and Amsterdam is their favourite city.
  • Vlog #2  Tim's Warm Up Routine: here Tim displays and demonstrates what look to me like instruments of torture which he uses to soften the muscles of his body. I actually inherited some of those bits of kit but had no idea what to do with them. Now I wish I didn't know.
  • Vlog #3 Tim and Salome's Make-Up Session: Salome bravely lets Tim apply her stage make-up. "What is this?" she squeals at the end of the end of the session and awards Tim 4/10 for his efforts. But the truth of the matter is that she looks lovely and would still look lovely if she had been dragged through a hedge backwards.
Like everyone who has begun his or her career with the Junior Company, they are excellent young persons. Clearly, they know how to have fun but they are also very accomplished dancers. Under Ernst Meisner's leadership, they will evolve into superb young artists. 

I am particularly excited about Salome because she comes from the same country and trained in the same ballet school as Elena Glurdjidze whom I once had the good fortune to meet and whom I miss very much (see Elena Glurdjidze - So Lovely, So Gracious 11 Feb 2014).

As I said in Thinking of Amsterdam this morning, I plan to see the company while it is touring the Netherlands.  I look forward to seeing Tim, Salome and their fellow dancers on stage very soon and perhaps even making the acquaintance of some of them.

Thinking of Amsterdam

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A lot is happening in Amsterdam. Last weekend the Dutch National Ballet hosted the Positional Ballet International Ballet Conference which I previewed on 19 Jan 2017. The conference coincided with the premieres of Made in Amsterdam 1 and II which showcases the Dutch National Ballet's strengths. Today the Junior Company launches its tour of the Netherlands with Juniors Go Dutch at the Meervaart Theatre.

Team Terpsichore had intended to be there this weekend and we even bought return flights back in December but commitments here have prevented our departure.  I still hope to catch the Juniors at one of their other venues later in their tour and if I can't make Made in Amsterdam I should at least see Onegin. In the meantime, we wish the brilliant young dancers of the Junior Company chookas and toi, toi, toi for this weekend's performances and every success in their careers.

A film has been made of last week's conference and appears above.  There are voces populorum from directors of some of the world's leading companies including Ted Brandsen who indicated that this is the start of a worldwide conversation on the future of Ballet in which we all can share.

Friday, 17 February 2017

National Dance Company of Wales's Spring Tour

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When I saw the National Dance Company of Wales in Huddersfield last year, I wrote in Cambriophilia 19 March 2016:
"One of the reasons I am a Cambriohile is that Wales has a great ballet company in Ballet Cymru. I am delighted to say that it also has a fine contemporary dance company in the National Dance Company Wales."
The NDCW is on the move again with a double bill consisting of Caroline Finn's The Green House and Roy Assaf's Profundis (see Spring Tour 2017).

Caroline Finn is the company's artistic director and I have reviewed two of her works:
The company' website sets the scene on The Green House as follows:
"What happens when we prune ourselves to perfection? Caroline Finn takes us on a nostalgic journey, asking us to peer into The Green House. On a twisted TV set, characters discover the fine line between fantasy and reality."
It also has this to say about Profundis:
"Playful, vibrant and provocative. Profundis dares us to ask questions about what things are, and what they are not."
The Spring tour will cover just about every part of Wales but will make only two forays into England (Shrewsbury 21 Feb and Newcastle upon Tyne 18 March 2017) and one into Scotland (Dundee 13 May 2017).

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Casanova Unmasked

Venice, Birthplace of Giacomo Casanova
Photo Cocao
Source Wikipedia
Creative Commons Licence

Northern Ballet, Casanova Unmasked Stanley and Audrey Burton Theatre, Leeds, 15 Feb 2017, 18:00 - 19:30

In my capacity as a Friend of Northern Ballet, I attended Casanova Unmasked last night. It was a preview of the work by the choreographer, Kenneth Tindall, and two of his collaborators, Ian Kelly his dramaturge and David Nixon his ballet master.  They were assisted by Giuliano Contadini, Dreda Blow, Hannah Bateman, Gavin McCaig and other dancers of the company.

The proceedings were streamed live over the internet and have been recorded at Northern Ballet - Casanova Unmasked on the company's YouTube channel. Unfortunately, the sound quality is not perfect. The sound is very faint throughout the video and appears to have been lost altogether at several points. However, the video is still worth watching. This article is intended to help those who were not in the theatre to appreciate that film. I have also written a brief introduction to the subject matter of Tindall's ballet and provided links to some of his source materials in Casanova, 24 May 2016.

The company's artistic director, David Nixon, made a short speech in which he introduced Kenneth Tindall. He spoke of his early recognition of Tindall's choreographic talent and how he had fostered it. Tindall had been a principal of the company and knew it well. It was, therefore, fitting that Northern Ballet should commission Tindall's first full-length ballet.

Tindall, in turn, introduced Ian Kelly. Tindall explained that Kelly had written the definitive biography of Casanova. He had approached Kelly for a licence but Kelly showed such interest in the project that Tindall invited Kelly to collaborate with him instead. In a fascinating presentation delivered without notes, Kelly brought to life the historical Casanova. Casanova is remembered nowadays as a libertine but he was so much more. He was a polymath with interests ranging from mathematics to gastronomy. He is remembered for his sexual exploits because he described them in minute detail (together with a lot of other things) in his autobiography which he wrote for therapy rather than publication. Kelly told us that Casanova's relationship with women was not as exploitative as might be thought. Intriguingly, Kelly said that Casanova had helped the women he knew "along their way". That gave me the impression that in some respects Casanova was a proto-feminist.

Among Casanova's relationships that Kelly discussed was the one with Bellino,  She is described on Northern Ballet's website as a "woman masquerading as a man in order to work as a castrato (castrated male) singer." Casanova and Bellino were represented on stage by Giuliano Costadini and Dreda Blow. In an exceptionally clever piece of choreography that I might never have interpreted without Tindall's commentary, the dancers recreated the couple's meeting, the tentative relaxing of their masks and the creation of trust between them. The development of trust was demonstrated by some rather scary looking tombés (I use that term in the loosest possible sense because I do not know how else to describe her fall) by Blow into the arms of Costadini. In the questions and answers that followed, Blow was asked how she felt when she performed that step. She replied that it was not easy at first but she had worked with Costadini before and gradually perfected it.

After the Q and A in which Bateman and McCaig joined Contadini and Blow. we were shown another extract from the ballet. This was by members of the corps representing Casanova's fellow seminarians when he was studying for the priesthood. There followed a fencing exercise which somehow transformed itself into a music lesson, the foils becoming violin bows. Altogether very ingenious and very attractive choreography.

There was another Q & A, this time with Tindall, Kelly and Nixon.  I asked Tindall about the mechanics of his collaboration with the composer Kerry Muzzey who was following the event in the United States. I asked him whether he worked as Petipa had with his composers specifying the phrases he needed for particular steps. Tindall replied that the collaboration went both ways. Having written music for film, Muzzey could envisage the interpretation of his work which Tindall had found useful.

After the presentations, Nixon invited the audience to drinks.  In some ways, this was the most valuable part of the evening because it afforded an opportunity to meet the collaborators and dancers informally and explore the work in greater depth. I had a particularly rewarding conversation with Ian Kelly about his methodology as history is forensic but theatre is expressive. Kelly well understood the difference having read history as a first degree.  I expect his work to be scholarly as well as entertaining.

The drinks were served in the atrium of Northern Ballet and Phoenix Dance Theatre's studios at Quarry Hill. Those who have entered the building will remember a landing where costumes are occasionally exhibited. Last night costumes from Casanova were arranged along that landing. Nixon reminded us that these come at a cost and that there is an appeal for wigs and costumes to which I invite all my readers to contribute.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Move in Manchester

Manchester's Northern Quarter
Author Michael Ashton
Source Wikipedia
Creative Commons Licence

For reasons that I am sure that my readers don't want to hear I have not been able to attend many ballet classes lately.  All but one of my classes in Leeds take place during the day which is just when I need to be available to my clients. My classes in Manchester take place at 18:30 but as extensive roadworks are taking place in Oxford Road the only way I can be sure of reaching The Dancehouse on time is by train and that requires me to leave home at 16:15 which is just when solicitors and patent and trade mark agents are most likely to want to talk to their barrister. True, there are such things as mobile 'phones but I don't like to give legal advice at the top of my voice in a crowded carriage as the "Pacer" train lumbers through the Standedge tunnel.

However, yesterday was my birthday and, as a treat to myself, I resolved to slope off early and attend Karen Sant's class at KNT. I set off in good time and caught the train to Huddersfield which arrived 25 minutes before my Manchester connection. And then I got distracted by a text on my mobile 'phone.  I put down my ballet bag which contained my shoes.  I was so engrossed in the message that I mounted the train without the bag.

In the middle of said Standedge tunnel I realized what I had done. I was devastated.  I had been looking forward to that class so much.  It was to be the highlight of my day.  The thought of catching the next train back without a class appalled me.  And then I had a brainwave.  I googled "ballet" and "shops" and "Manchester". Google regurgitated many but they were all in Manchester, New Hampshire. I also appealed to my friends on Facebook for suggestions. Ryan Davies, whom I had met in Greenock on Sunday, replied with a link to Move's website. So, too, did Google, eventually, when I re-entered the search terms with the addition of "UK". I called Move's number and, to my great delight, my call was answered. The lady who answered the 'phone told me that the store closed at 18:00 sharp and gave me directions from Piccadilly station.

The train shuddered into Piccadilly station at 17:48.  I was in the rearmost carriage and I shot out of the train like a bat out of hell. I darted along the platform.  The ticket collector conscientiously scrutinized every aspect of my return ticket before allowing me on my way.  I sprinted down the ramp onto London Road, sped first along Ducie Street, then Dale Street and eventually found Port Street. At number 58 I found Move Dancewear opposite what seemed to be a rather interesting pub. My native city is full of such ancient watering holes. To my great relief they were open, but would they stock my size?

I have exceptionally large feet that would not disgrace a penguin.  Freeds can usually fit me out but I have had to order shoes at other stores. The assistant produced a pair that fitted my flippers like a glove.  The only problem was that the elastic straps were loose. She advised me to tie them for class which I did.

I made another dash to Oxford Road and reached the Dancehouse just a few minutes before we were called up to the studio. All my classes in Leeds start with a run.  I think it is part of the Ichino method.  If that is the case I had the perfect warm up. I met our instructor, Karen, who wished me happy birthday with a great hug, and a fair number of my classmates who greeted me similarly cordially.

It was a lovely class from warm up to reverence. We started with foot exercises facing the barre and continued through pliés, tendus, glissés, ronds de jambe and grands battements.  I was a bit stiff but was pleased to find that I could raise both legs to the top rail of the barre for stretching exercises.  After a short break, we started glissés in the centre which I guess is intended to improve our balance and coordination. Jane starts her centre work with a similar exercise too.  We proceeded to pirouettes which seemed to go better than usual this time. I think one of my pirouettes actually worked yesterday and the others were sort of half-way there.   We followed with an enchainment and finally jumps which are my favourite part of the class. Yesterday, Tyson Collins managed a wonderful assemblé with real elevation winning Karen's commendation and our applause. We finished with a joyous temps levé, one of my favourites, from stage left and stage right. Then, far too soon, cool down and curtsies.

I caught my usual chugger back to Huddersfield which arrived just before 9 pm. While waiting for my branch line I checked the lost property office and, to my great surprise and delight, my little red ballet bag was there. Not only that but my trusty Freeds and copy of Alexander McCall Smith's Espresso Tales were inside. Quite restored my faith in human nature.

I am so grateful to Move Dancewear. They saved my evening.  I would have been close to tears had I missed that class as I don't know when I will get to Manchester again.  I will return to 58 Port Street anon to have a proper look at their stock for I have promised them a write-up in this blog soon.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Ballet West at the Beacon

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Ballet West, Swan Lake. Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock, 12 Feb 2017

I have been coming to Scotland at this time of the year to see Ballet West's winter show for the last four years (see Ballet West's "The Nutcracker" 25 Feb 2013, Swan Loch - Ballet West's Swan Lake, Pitlochry 1 March 2014 3 Marh 2014, Ballet West's Romeo and Juliet 1 Feb 2015 and  Thinking out Loud about Ballet West 8 Feb 2016). Each and every production has been a little better than the last. The current production of Swan Lake  is no exception.  Accordingly, it is the company's best show yet.

I saw Swan Lake last night at Greenock, a small town on the southern bank of the Clyde estuary about 25 miles from Glasgow, in the main auditorium of its magnificent Beacon Arts Centre, which is just over 4 years old.  That auditorium has a fair size stage and seats about 500 with an uninterrupted view from every point. The building is near the river and I would expect its location to command spectacular views of the river. Obviously, there was not much to see as I wandered down from Greenock Central station with my phone on Google maps at 18:00 on a cold, dark and drizzly Sunday evening.

I was welcomed to the Beacon by Ballet West's principal and artisic director, Gillian Barton, who staffed a concession stall with programmes and merchandise. She told me that the previous night's performance at the Armadillo (SECC) had been excellent and wondered how her company could possibly match that success. She added that Natasha Watson, whom I had mentioned in so many reviews and featured in A Cause for Double Celebration at the Robin's Nest 8 Feb 2016 and who had been cast as Odette-Odile, had fallen ill. Her place was taken by Uyu Hiromoto who is a second year student at the school. An exceptionally talented student it has to be said who had impressed me in last year's performance of The Nutracker and who had been selected to tour Malaysia (see Ballet West in Malaysia 18 June 2016) but Odette-Odile is a demanding role even for a principal ballerina of a major company.

If Gillian Barton really did worry about the performance, she need not have done.  I did not see the show at the Armadillo so I am in no position to compare the two, but I should be very surprised to learn that last night's performance fell short of Saturday's in any way. Last night's show was a triumph for two many reasons and here are just too. First, Hiromoto rose to the occasion magnificently. The second was casting Rothbart as a woman and the inspired execution of that role by Miranda Hamili.

Hiromoto and Hamili in their different ways are super talented young women. As my wise first ballet teacher (a seasoned performer who had once danced with the Queensland Ballet as well as a wonderful teacher) once warned, "ballet is a jealous mistress and a tough task master out to break you" so I will not tempt fate by forecasting a golden future for either of them. All I will say is that I sensed the same feeling that I had when I first saw Michaela DePrince in Amsterdam in 2013 (see The Junior Company of the Dutch National Ballet - Stadsshouwburg Amsterdam 24 Nov 2013 25 Jan 2013) or Xander Parish at the York Summer School gala in July 2007 andjust  look at both of them both now. I knew I was looking at something special then and I saw something special again last night.

The reason why Swan Lake is so compelling is that it reveals two faces of humanity in the same dancer.  The sweet, loving, tragic Odette and the brassy, brazen Odile. I have seen many performances in my time and many of the world's leading ballerinas in  the role.  Some are the perfect Odette.  More are the perfect Odile. Few can dance both roles equally well (Scottish Ballet's Bethany Kingsley-Garner being one who can). Hiromoto, despite her youth, is another,  She was a perfect Odette - delicate, lyrical, willowy.  Could she transform herself into what Mr Trump would call "a nasty woman" I asked Daniel Job, the company's choreographer and artistic advisor during the interval. "You'd be surprised" he replied with a smile.  Job was right. Her head raised and somehow holding her arms and upper body in quite a different way Hiromoto transformed herself.  Haughty and heartless, she executed Legnani's 32 fouettés splendidly.  I was counting as I always do and ready to break into applause at number 28.

Hamili has a mastery of character. In Acts 2 and 4 she is of course the evil magician and danced the role largely as a man would have done but in Act 3 she came into her own. She dominated that Act as she slouched over the throne one leg slung over the arm of the chair.  Yawning first, then filing her nails much to the discomfort of Mary Anderson who danced the Queen. It was hard to take my eyes off her even for the divertissements which were beautifully danced.  She assumed centre of stage as Odile began the seduction scene whispering into Odile's shell-like not to accept anything less from Siegfried that betrothal. Ballet West had a brilliant Rothbart in Isaac Peter Bowry who is now dancing lead roles for Ballet Theatre UK. Hamili was every bit as good. Whoever cast her in that role, coached her and dressed her deserves a medal. She added a whole new dimension to the work.

However, they were not the only stars. As in 2014 Siegfried was danced by Jonathan Barton, a graduate of the school who is now its Vice-Principal and yet another Genée medallist. Even though I had seen Anthony Dowell and Rudolf Nureyev in that role I had always regarded Siegfrield as a secondary role because of the focus on Odette-Odile. But I have begun to understand his role better over the years and Barton has helped with that understanding. He is transformed in the ballet every bit as much as Odette. We see him as a callow and not a particularly nice teenager mad for gadgets and unwilling to grow up. "Gee, Ma, that crossbow is really cool." "Don't even mention marriage to me, ma" he gestures extravagantly when his mum suggests he has regal responsibilities.  He meets Odette and begins to grow, Reluctantly he becomes a hero.  He has to jump in the lake to do it but he liberates all those girls who would have been condemned as swans to scrub about bulrushes for stale bread from humans.

Oscar Ward, who accompanied Hiromoto to Malaysia, danced Benno. Ballet West's Benno is not quite as pivotal as David Dawson's but I could detect a little of Dawson's influence in the way Ward danced that role. He came into his own in the pas de trois supported delightfully by Sarah Nolan and Storm Norris. Later Ward danced the Neapolitan divertissement with Abigail Drew with the exuberance and charm.  It was good to see two familar faces, Dylan Waddell whom I had previously seen in MurleyDance and Ballet Cymru and Mark Griffiths who is also from Ballet Cymru. Those chaps danced several roles - guests at the party and Siegfried's mates on the swan shoot.  Later Waddell was also in the Spanish dance.

Other highlights included the cygnets (Alice Flinton, Perihan Gulen, Lucy Malin and Rebecca Strain), the divertissements (particularly the kids from Glasgow who were lovely and came close to stealing the show) and of course the swans in Act 2 and 4. I've had a go at learning the cygnets, Hungarian dance, prince's solo and swans' entry and know just how demanding those dances are (see KNT's Beginners' Adult Ballet Intensive - Swan Lake: Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3).

The current Swan Lake is a new production with new sets and, I think, new costumes.  The designs that I saw at Pitlochry in 2014 had been good but last night's were even better.  I instinctively drew breath as the curtain rose on the opening scene as the guests arrived for Siegfried's coming of age party. My only criticism of the whole evening was the excessive use of the yellow and blue filters in the lighting design. Swans are supposed to be white, not birds of Paradise, yet for long stretches of the evening they were yellow and blue. There were hitches. The arch of someone's cross-bow fell off, there was the occasional stumble, acts did not follow quite as fast as they might have done and the curtain came down slightly too late at the end of Act 2 and too soon early at the end of Act 4. But this was a tour and I have seen far worse from far more famous companies in far bigger theatres.

So Gillian Barton, Daniel Job and their cast can congratulate themselves on an excellent performance. Next year they will dance Giselle. I had hoped for La Sylphide as Gurn, James and Effie used to haunt Ichrachan House but I guess Madge must have put a spell on them.  I would love to see a Scottish company dance La Sylphide on their home turf but the nearest any of them have got is Sir Matthew Bourne's Highland Fling which Ballet Central (another ballet school's performance company) are taking on tour this year.

There is one more show before the dancers return to Taynuilt and that is at Edinburgh International Conference Centre on 18 Feb. If you are free that day and can get a ticket you should be there. Since I have been following them, this really is Ballet West's best show yet.