Saturday, April 16, 2016


at the Civic Theatre


The Civic was packed for the annual visit of Central Ballet School's touring arm.
As usual, they'd brought a wealth of new talent in an eclectic artistic offering.

Seven pieces, beginning with Christopher Gable's Celebration. Classical – tights and tiaras - but relaxed in tone, it was a stylistic sampler exploring the fluid relationships between the four men and four women. With a score by their Music Director Philip Feeney, who was at the piano for most of tonight's ballets. Resident costume designer Richard Gellar was responsible for these and almost all the other costumes.
Leanne King's Insinuare was a much more complex, more confrontational duo, danced with energy and intelligence by Prima Tharathep and Jacopo Butelli. A huge contrast with the Paquita Pas de Trois which followed: Mai Ito performed with precision, but it was Mark Samoras who impressed, with a versatile approach, engaging the audience in this, and in the final work, Christopher Marney's War Letters, extracts of which I saw in town back in 2014. Set to a selection of Shostakovich, with a leavening of Glenn Miller for the dance hall number, it features heroes and heart-ache, a conga line, wounded soldier, a spectacular quartet of male dancers and celebration for VE day. The most moving moments are the The Heavy Coat, inspired by Vicky Feaver's poem [read on the soundtrack by Carol Been] and the final tableau, in which the company turns and looks out to the sunlit uplands of a world at peace.

Chelmsford Ballet Company member Jasmine Wallis [pictured with Joseph Vaughan] featured in the last piece, as well as in the Gable, and in Linda Moran's Elan Vital, a showcase for eight girls in dusty pink, danced to the music of Gustav Holst – upbeat, as its title suggests, with a hint of callisthenics.

Production photographs © Bill Cooper

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