Britten dances in Aldeburgh, London and Birmingham(September 2013)
The Britten centenary is exploring his dance repertoire, including new choreographies in Aldeburgh, London and Birmingham.
Benjamin Britten’s centenary has seen a renewed focus on the dancing qualities of his oeuvre, with productions of his ballet The Prince of the Pagodas and existing danceworks alongside new choreographies set to his music. The Aldeburgh Festival in June presented Britten Dances, a programme of Britten-inspired works which, as the Guardian commented, “exposed the vibrancy and colour of his music”, with Kim Brandstrup’s new Ceremony of Innocence being selected by The Independent as the highlight of the celebration:
“Set to the Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, it echoes the ambiguities of Britten’s operas in fresh, musical dance, with strong video design by Leo Warner… Working with dancers from Britain’s Royal Ballet, Brandstrup takes the theme of lost and corrupted innocence, central to so many Britten works. In a white suit, watching younger dancers at play, Edward Watson looks like Aschenbach in Death in Venice, dreaming of lost youth. The dancing in the fizzing early movements is joyfully fluent, with Watson foreshadowing the music’s later darkness… In a shivery sequence, the young dancers return, but now looking like mocking ghosts of what Watson saw the first time.”
The Richard Alston Dance Company presents an all-Britten programme as part of the Barbican’s two-week celebration of the composer in November. New danceworks by Alston set to the Hölderlin Fragments and Phaedra join his existing choreographies of Les Illuminations and Lachrymae, with live accompaniments by the Britten Sinfonia directed by Pekka Kuusisto.
> Britten at Barbican
Following on the recent revival of Kenneth MacMillan’s Royal Ballet choreography of The Prince of the Pagodas, Birmingham Royal Ballet presents the UK premiere of David Bintley’s new choreography. First staged by the National Ballet of Japan in 2011, the production tours to Manchester, Birmingham, Plymouth and the London Coliseum between January and March.
> Birmingham Royal Ballet
> Further information on Work: Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge
Photo: Rob Marrison
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