Scottish Ballet RE-EDIT

Their winter tour of 'Cinderella' barely behind them, Scottish Ballet forego a well deserved break and begin their spring tour, a programme of three works that have helped propel ballet into the 21st century.

Article by Simone Gray | 15 Feb 2006
With hardly a breather since the completion of their winter tour of 'Cinderella', Scottish Ballet is heading south for the spring. Their first visit to Sadler's Wells since 1999 will see them perform three critically acclaimed pieces alongside their 'Cinderella' production to the knowledgable audiences packed with dance buffs and enthusiasts. But, with the form they have shown over the past year, they have little to worry about.

Critics and audiences unanimously agree that 2005 was a sensational year for Scottish Ballet. With Ashley Page at the helm as artistic director, they truly seemed to celebrate the art of movement. While sublimely working hard to preserve, enjoy and showcase the timeless beauty of traditional ballet that kept the older audiences filling seats, they managed to attract and please a whole new generation with their electrifying modern techno pieces of work perfectly executed to the pulsating contemporary scores they had chosen. It was a season that seemed to open the doors to the public, let Scotland in and break down the barriers that the austere world of ballet maintained. At events like the Merchant City Festival, they literally took their art to the streets.

An undoubted highlight of the past year for the company has to be their return to the International Edinburgh Festival after a twenty-year absence. Their triumphant performance of 'Episodes', forming part of the 'Scottish Ballet Dances Balanchine' triple bill, went on to win the company a coveted Herald Angel Award. Clearly Page plans to build on that success and to again represent Scotland at a national level.

On their spring tour, Scottish Ballet will be presenting three works that have been credited to help propel ballet into the 21st century. Audiences can look forward to a bill made up of rarely performed George Balanchine's 'Episodes', Stephen Petronio's 'MiddleSexGorge' and William Forsythe's 'Suite from Artifact'.

In 'Episodes', Balanchine has created a series of choreographic sketches to brief orchestral pieces by the 20th century composer Anton von Webern. The first Episode is an intricate study of poise and control; the second turns to frenzied drama as Balanchine manipulates mind, emotion and body; and then finally returns the distortion to harmony in the last of the Episodes.

Petronio's 'MidleSexGorge' is a vigourous pulsating choreography set to a thumping track by punk rock outfit Wire. Scottish Ballet will need to physically attack this work that has been described as a fast, furious and serrated creation, which violently and boldly moves an audience.

The final of the triple bill, Forsyth's 'Suite from Artifact', was tailored exclusively for the company and perhaps encompasses all the qualities that they have shown over the past year. While incredibly physically demanding, the dance matter requires precision coupled with vivid spirit to capture the sharp wit and warm tenderness of this piece.

In an ever-changing cultural landscape, Scottish Ballet have managed this past year to sustain their upward growth as they continue to reinvent themselves, taking the audience along for the stimulating ride.

They will present this bill on Thursday March 16 alongside Cinderella which they will perform on the March 14 and 15. Following that, dance buffs north of the border will be in for the same treat as the company brings the triple bill to Edinburgh Festival Theatre from Thursday March 30 to Saturday April 1 and Glasgow Theatre Royal from April 5 to 8.
From March 30 - April 1 at the Festival Theatre, Edinburgh; and April 5-8 at Theatre Royal, Glasgow.