Scottish Ballet: Autumn '16
I have to admit that contemporary ballet isn't something that's captured my heart so far. As someone who's entire ballet training has only been in classical ballet, I have become accustomed to the storytelling inherent within classical ballet.
However, things changed a week ago when I went to see Scottish Ballet's Autumn/Winter
Season, which consisted of Sibilo and Emergence.
As the curtains came up, Christopher Hampson, Scottish Ballet's Artistic Director, addressed his audience and asked us not just to watch the shapes his dancers made, the positions, but how they "interrogate space". It was certainly food for thought.
Choreography: Sophie Laplane
Sophie Laplane, one of Scottish Ballet's own dancing talents, choreographed this incredible piece. I really didn't know what to expect but when the music began, with it's pounding 4/4 beat, provided by Alex Smoke of Soma Records (a former design client of mine), my very first thought was "this, I'm going to get".
The piece explores the various personalities of the dancers themselves and there is plenty of humour, which I wasn't expecting. The
reasoning behind Sibilo, which is a type of whistle, is that whistling is something universal and a sound that everyone can make, and a piece of music by Fred Lowery called Whistleitis, runs gently through Alex's score.
There was nothing I didn't love about this ballet. It was uplifting and Alex's music was fantastic and, as a former DJ, it was brilliant to see movement in ballet relate to the rhythm I'm most used to and can easily understand.
Choreography: Crystal Pite
Emergence is chogeographed by Crystal Pite ansd is inspired by swarms of insects, flocks of birds and schools of fish as they move and connect with each en masse. I actually found Emergegence quite dark, menacing almost. The first scene we see Sophie Martin crouched into a small ball and suddenly an arm extends from the small mass, twitching and scratching at the ground as she emerges as a winged insect or bird.
In this piece all 36 dancers from Scottish Ballet are on stage and how they move in unison really does begin to feel like a swarm, especially when they first come on stage, through a dark hole, one by one. The music is
difficult and broken and adds to the slight uncomfortable feeling the piece gives you.
The use of pointe shoes is also inverted here as rather than being used to create beautiful lines, they are used to create sound, like the noise of scores of insects would make if you were you magnify the sound, or tiny cracking bones as new wings open for the first time.
Overall, I just loved it. Seeing all the dancers on stage was magnificent. Ours may be a small national company but when you see ballet's like this, you really realise they pack a serious punch.