Two ballets, one classical and one more physical and contemporary in style, meld together in this latest double bill from Scottish Ballet. It is a tale of two choreographers inspired by one composer and showcases all that is good about this Glasgow-based company.
Igor Stravinsky was a successful Russian composer and his delightful scores are brought to life by a stunning live orchestra as captivating as the dancers on stage. They span cleaner, gentler notes of The Fairy’s Kiss to the harsher more eclectic notes of the disturbingly engaging The Rite of Spring. Meanwhile, the dancers take this tantalising music and create two contrasting performances that truly show how far the renaissance of Scottish Ballet has come.
The first is a tale brought to life by the late, great Sir Kenneth MacMillan, who weaved together a story of corruption and lost love with a mixture of the grace so associated with classical ballet, and with innovative choreography danced with delightful charisma and charm by Constance Devernay as the Evil Fairy. There is a particular fascination in the pas-de-deux work between both Devernay and Andrew Peasgood as the Young Man of the piece, and between Peasgood and Bethany Kingsley-Garner as his fleet-of-foot fiancée. Barely a breath is taken by the audience as the Fairy seals the young lovers’ fate with a kiss and the one-act ballet comes to a close.
In stark contrast, The Rite of Spring explodes onto the stage with powerful drum beats and physical dance which is uncomfortable in its themes of power and death, but nothing short of fantastic. How Constant Vigier keeps up his energy for the 40-minute piece is a mystery, truly demonstrating the athleticism of the modern age dancer. Sophie Martin too shows her athleticism as she enters the man-on-man battle between Vigier and Christopher Harrison symbolising both faith and death. Martin has the ability to hold the audience in a spell as she moves around the stage before a dramatic ending.
Christopher Hampson has struck a perfect balance between classical and contemporary since taking on the role of Chief Executive in 2015 and the company continue to go from strength to strength under his guidance. This Stravinksy double bill showcases this balance by beautifully marrying old and new, classical and physical, and honouring the music of this fabulous composer perfectly.
Photos: Kenny Mathieson