Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Last Chance to see Ballet Black in the North

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Ballet Black are coming towards the end of their national tour with the triple bill that David Murley saw at the Barbican (see Ballet Black at the Barbican 22 March 2016) and I saw at the Lowry and Stanley and Audrey Burton Theatre (see Ballet Black made my Manchester Day 20 June 2016 and Never Better: Ballet Black in Leeds 18 Oct 2016). The company usually makes an appearance in Leeds but this year they have spoilt their fans in the North with performances of Dogs Don't Do Ballet in Sale (see As Fresh as Ever: Ballet Black's Dogs Don't Do Ballet in Sale 7 May 2016 and I never tire of Dogs Don't Do Ballet 8 May 2016) as well as those I have already mentioned and their forthcoming visit to the CAST theatre in Doncaster on 2 Nov 2016.

As I mentioned in my review of Northern Ballet's Madame Butterfly (Nixon's Masterpiece) on 22 May 2015 CAST is  "a £22 million municipal theatre that opened in 2013 (Ian Youngs £22m Cast theatre opens in Doncaster 6 Sept 2013 BBC website)" and is one of the plushest performing spaces I know. It has attracted not just Northern Ballet but also Wayne McGregor and other dance companies. This will be Ballet Black's debut in Doncaster and tickets seem to be selling well (see the "Book Tickets" page on the theatre's website).

In my humble opinion, this year's programme is the company's best ever with works by three of my favourite choreographers including Christopher Marney (artistic director of Ballet Central) whose work reminds me so much of John Cranko and Christopher Hampson of Scottish Ballet who was my joint choreographer of the year for 2015 (see Highlights of 2015  29 Dec 2015). All the works in this year's programme are sombre. Storyville which charts the destruction of a beautiful young woman is particularly sad. But they are also very beautiful.  Ballet Black is a company that delivers the sort of works that Luke Jennings seemed to be calling for on Front Row  on Monday which I discussed in Of Bikes and Buses 25 Oct 2016. I can't imagine why nobody on the programme mentioned that.

Ballet Black's remaining performances of the triple bill will be in Exeter, Watford, Harlow and Lichfield. Soon they will begin work on a new programme which will open at the Barbican on 2 March 2017. I gleaned the following details from the Barbican's website:
"A four-hander characterised by intricate detail and propulsive energy, Captured ebbs and flows to the fiery emotion of Martin Lawrance’s edgy choreography, set to a Shostakovich string quartet.
Celebrated British choreographer Michael Corder, whose glittering versions of Cinderellaand The Snow Queen have been seen across Europe, creates the evening’s second abstract piece for four dancers.
South Bank Sky Arts Award-winner Annabelle Lopez Ochoa turns a popular fairy tale on its head, as she gives her short narrative ballet a surprising twist. This time, the Wolf will regret ever meeting Red Riding Hood."
Those who like Ballet Black may wish to consider the company's Friends scheme. Membership does not cost much and it provides opportunities to get to know the company better.  Friends receive an occasional newsletter and invitations to attend events like the rehearsal of Marney's To Begin, Begin at the Barbican (see Ballet Black's First Friends' Event: A Rehearsal with Chris Marney 14 July 2016).

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