Sunday, April 11, 2010


2010 tour at the Civic Theatre Chelmsford 

Ballet Central, the touring arm of the Central School, is celebrating 25 years on the road.

The programme they brought to the Civic had a nostalgic tinge, I thought.

It began with the continually inventive Duologue, choreographed by Christopher Marney, who began his career in mid-Essex and is probably best known for his work with Matthew Bourne. The opening tableau had striking height, and the three couples, costumed in browns with subdued lighting, eloquently explored their sepia memories, ending with a chaste kiss.

Philip Aiden's Let Yourself Go – grey silks and spats, and more daring lifts – took Irving Berlin's tunes and showed inhibitions shed as bow-ties were loosened. Shift, by Christopher Bruce, began with some fairly literal mime, before exploring the mechanical work of the factory. A lithe, fluent performance, more Sing As We Go than Stalinist, the excellent trio of boys very American. 

Philip Feeney, who has been the Musical Director of the company since it began, wrote and performed the music for David Nixon's beautiful Song to St Andrew, and for the last piece, Knot Garden. Sara Matthews had devised a fascinating sequence of rhythmic, ritual movement, often ludic – the circle – but mostly celebrating the joy of dance itself, reflected in Feeney's folk-ish music.

Barry Moreland's brief Pas de Trois to Mozart, and Louise Bennett's busy, athletic Twin Figures, completed a stunning showcase of modern dance.  

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