Sunday, 22 May 2016

Ballet Cymru's Summer Tour

Darius James with Gwenllian Davies and Miguel Fernandes
Photo Gita Mistry
(c) 2016 Gita Mistry, all rights reserved

Ballet Cynru, Roald Dahl's Little Red Riding Hood and The Three Little Pigs, Riverfront Theatre, Newport 21 May 2016

Last night I attended the opening of Ballet Cymru's summer tour at the company's home theatre in Newport. The works which they are taking on tour are revivals of Roald Dahl's  Little Red Riding Hood & The Three Little Pigs to celebrate the centenary of the writer's birth and Romeo a Juliet to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death.  Both ballets were created by Darius James and Amy Doughty whose work I admire very much indeed. Their Cinderella was outstanding. It was so good that it was my ballet of the year and their Tir was my number two (see Highlights of 2015 29 Dec 2915).

The work which the company performed last night was Lwhich I previewed in Hard not to have Favourites ...... Ballet Cymru's Little Red Riding Hood rides again 28 April 2016). These are dance dramas based on two of Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes which are connected by the appearance of Little Red Riding Hood as wolf slayer in both works. Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf are act 1 and The Three Little Pigs are act 2. The ballet is very short which makes it suitable for young children of whom there were quite a few in the audience last night but those stories have an ironic twist epitomized by the line "Ah, Piglet, you must never trust Young ladies from the upper crust" which appeals to adults.

The central figure in the show (or as Gita would say "person of the match") was Little Red Riding Hood danced last night by Lydia Arnoux who displayed her usual virtuosity with charm and humour but she was supported strongly by Mark Griffiths who told the story and also by Andrea Battagia who danced the wolf and Robbie Moorcroft who danced the dissolute alcoholic grandma in act 1. Yesterday was an opportunity to see Ballet Cymru's latest recruits two of whom appear with Darius James in the photo above. Gwenllian Davies, who is actually Welsh, danced the virtuous grandmother yesterday. Her companion, Miguel Fernandes, was part of a cow in act 1 and a pig in act 2. Dylan Waddell was the other half of the cow. Anna Pujol was a pig in both acts. They all performed well as did the whole cast.

The recruitment of four new dancers with excellent credentials attests to the increasing strength and self confidence of the company. It is still relatively small in numbers but not in ambition for it will perform Little Red Riding Hood and the Three Little Pigs to the accompaniment of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in the massive Millennium Centre in Cardiff on 4 Dec 2016. That will be a great day and a coming of age for a great little company. Wherever you are in the country, nay Europe or indeed the world, it will be worth a trip to Cardiff for it will be a day to remember.

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