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Erik Cavallari as Romeo, Victor Zarallo as Mercutio and Christopher Harrison as Tybalt in Krzysztof Pastor’s Romeo & Juliet. Photo by Christina Riley

Erik Cavallari as Romeo, Victor Zarallo as Mercutio and Christopher Harrison as Tybalt in Krzysztof Pastor’s Romeo & Juliet. Photo by Christina Riley

Talent pours in from north of the border

LONDON: Scottish Ballet made a rare visit to London with Krzysztof Pastor’s Romeo and Juliet. Pastor sets the ballet in the nineteenth century, the opening street battles are fought in Mussolini’s Italy, the substance of the love story plays out in the 50s and the funeral takes us to modern times. And the dance rides like a rollercoaster on Prokofiev’s sweeping melodies.

Pastor is a rare choreographer in that he excels in large scale works, using the ballet vocabulary but giving the lexicon a distinctly modern feel to make the drama immediate and thrilling. The passion of the love scenes, the angry fights, the menace oozing from the black shirted Capulets and the devastating finality of the deaths kept the audience enthralled.

Sophie Martin as Juliet and Erik Cavallari as Romeo in Krzysztof Pastor’s Romeo & Juliet. Photo by Christina Riley

Sophie Martin as Juliet and Erik Cavallari as Romeo in Krzysztof Pastor’s Romeo & Juliet. Photo by Christina Riley


Sophie Martin and Erik Cavallari in the title roles define the characters in sensitive, beautifully crafted dance. Lord and Lady Capulet, Estonian Eva Mutso and Owen Thorne, bring to mind a pair of pedigree Rottweilers: dark, dangerous and oh, so handsome. Christopher Harrison’s vicious Tybalt contrasts with Victor Zarallo’s witty, fleet footed Mercutio but this is in essence an ensemble ballet for a company of top quality performers.

Rambert, is a word synonymous with English dance. Ballet Rambert was founded in 1926, it went contemporary as Rambert Dance in 1966 and now in its brand new state-of-the-art premises on London’s South Bank it is just ‘Rambert’! The company tours extensively and has a very loyal fan base who packed Sadler’s Wells for their London season.

Miguel Altunaga in Rooster. Photo by Tristram Kenton

Miguel Altunaga in Rooster. Photo by Tristram Kenton


Christopher Bruce wrote Rooster in celebration of the 60s but it never seems to date. The Rolling Stones music still packs a punch and the dance has a sassy style all of its own. Bruce captures the essence of the guys in their gestures, fingers slicking back the hair, adjusting a tie or flicking a speck of dust off the jacket. A super cool battle of the sexes. In farmyard fashion, the ‘roosters’ in bright jackets try to dominate but the women, keeping an ironic eye on the male posturing know well who will get the last laugh. Antonette Dayrit brought sincerity to Ruby Tuesday, and Dane Hurst brought his superior touch of class to the proceedings but it was Miguel Altunaga with hips like molten lava that generated the most heat.

Simone Damberg Würtz in Four Seasons. Photo by Benedict Johnson

Simone Damberg Würtz in Four Seasons. Photo by Benedict Johnson


Lucinda Childs’ Four Seasons is set against a series of changing decorative backcloths and costumes in a lurid range of checks and tartans. The choreography is cool and minimal: well made, well danced but ultimately not very exciting.

Miguel Altunaga on the floor, Dane Hurst in the air. Photo by Chris Nash

Miguel Altunaga on the floor, Dane Hurst in the air. Photo by Chris Nash


The closing number, Sounddance is Merce Cunningham at his impudent best. Simple costumes against opulent swags of gold curtains set the mood for intellectual dance that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Richard Alston’s witty Dutiful Ducks made a welcome return. A neat five minute solo that never ceases to charm, it was given a skilfully performed by Adam Blyde to Charles Amirkhanian’s engaging sound score.

Maggie Foyer
21 July, 2014

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