Wednesday, 28 December 2016

The Terpsichore Titles: Outstanding Young Choreographer

Cristiano Principato
Photo Robin dePuy
(c) 2914 Dutch National Ballet: all rights reserved
Reproduced with kind permission of the company

There is a lot of great, young choreographic talent here and overseas. For the last two years Northern Ballet has been showcasing some of it at its Tell Tale Steps choreographic workshops in Leeds (see My Thoughts on Saturday Afternoon's Panel Discussion at Northern Ballet 21 June 2015 and Tell Tale Steps 2 17 June 2016). One of the participants in last year's lab was Charlotte Edmonds who had created Fuse for Ballet Bubbles at the Meervvart.

I described Edmonds's work as the most polished and dramatic which was not surprising given her talent and experience. Having also been impressed with Fuse, I thought she would be a shoe-in for my outstanding young choreographer title.

But then I went to Italy and saw Palladio.

Palladio was one of several works created for the Gala for Alessia at Trecate by Cristiano Principato who is one of the Dutch National Ballet's most talented young dancers.  This is what I wrote about his ballet in From Italy with Love on 1 July 2016:
"In the video about the ballet Cristiano explains that it is about a young girl who breaks her heart but recovers and moves on. It explores her sadness but then her strength as she creates new relationships. Cristiano cast all the Amsterdam dancers in this piece including himself. This is a very sophisticated work and quite a remarkable piece for one so young. Though completely original I could see the influence of Meisner - but not just Meisner for I was also reminded of Jerome Robbins. Balanchine and Jose Limon's The Moor's Pavane. Most choreographers' early works are quickly forgotten but I don't think this will be one of them. I think it will be performed time and again, I might add that I think it will be popular in England as Cristiano's choreography is well suited for dancers trained in the English style."
Cristiano created that work before his 21st birthday which makes it all the more impressive.

Given a fair wind this talented young gentleman can look forward to great things. He is, of course, a fine dancer but he can also direct and manage. At Trecate he acted as artistic director, choreographer, principal dancer, lighting engineer - you name it he did it. Don't be surprised if he ends up running one of the world's great ballet companies or opera houses one of these days.

There was one other new work that I saw just before I went to Italy which I really should mention. That was Small Steps created by Cara O'Shea who is one of my teachers at the Northern Ballet Academy. Small Steps is about the Kindertransport which rescued large numbers of Jewish children from Nazi Germany.  I saw it at the Leeds CAT end of term show and wrote in Small Steps and other Pieces - Leeds CAT End of Term Show 2 July 2016:
"Small Steps was a very beautiful work and I was profoundly moved by it for two reasons. The first is that the dancers were about the same age as the children who were sent abroad. They looked so bonny but also so lost and vulnerable. The second is that Cara chose very appropriate music - Arvo Pärt's Für Alina and Spiegel im Spiegel, Lee Holdridge's Into the Arms of Strangers, the intermezzo from Pietro Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana and Paul de Senneville's Marriage d'Amour. The ballet explored the conflict in the parents' minds and the pain of separation. Although she challenged her dancers her choreography was restrained and sombre - and as I have said before profoundly beautiful."
Cara is a fine teacher who is loved and respected by each and every one of her pupils - none more than me - but she is also a talented dance maker. I hope we shall see more from her.

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