Ivan Putrov’s Eclectic Showcase for Male Dancers in Motion


Men in Motion: Ivan Putrov and dancers, Paradisal Players, Zara Benyounes (violin), Rebecca Gilliver (cello), Ana Šinkovec Burstin (piano) / Samuel Burstin (conductor). London Coliseum, 22.11.2017. (J.O’D)


Men in Motion (c) Rose (design) & Nick Knight (photo)

Dancers: Matthew Ball, Mathieu Ganio, Francesca Hayward, Anton Lukovkin, Irek Mukhamedov, Giovanni Princic, Daniel Proietto, Ivan Putrov, Alessandro Staiano, Marian Walter

Artistic director and producer – Ivan Putrov
Lighting design – Anthony Hateley

As the audience took its seats for Ivan Putrov’s Men in Motion at the London Coliseum in 2014, male dancers were doing warm-up exercises on the stage. In what must be the very different world of Men in Motion 2017, the arriving public was subject to a camp and risqué monologue from dancer Daniel Proietto on the theme of Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and the threat to democracy.

The Mockracy (world premiere), with its monologue written by Andrew Wale, made what can only be an intentionally perplexing start to Putrov’s ‘exploration and celebration of the role of the male dancer from the post-Romantic era up to the present day’. Shouts of ‘Get off!’ as the monologue showed no signs of stopping were possibly staged, but a lot of people obviously thought, like King James I during a Twelfth Night masque that bored him: ‘Why don’t they dance? What did they make me come here for? … Dance!’

After a musical palate cleanser (by a live ensemble) there were any number of male dancers, and one female dancer, to make an audience understand why it came. Proietto himself, at the end of the first part, gave a really memorable performance of Russell Maliphant’s Afterlight (Part One) (2009): he brought out the beauty and the sadness.

Before that, Marian Walter, arms covered, legs bare, shifted between outward and inward-directed movement in Ludovic Ondiviela’s thoughtful Berlin (2014). Matthew Ball’s sustained balances in Christopher Bruce’s Excerpt from Swansong, third movement (1987) stilled you as you looked. In a costume designed by Philip Treacy, Mathieu Ganio was resplendent in Alastair Marriott’s Clair de Lune (2017). The spangles and feather-like strands attached to the gauze on his upper body were not only spectacular, they also highlighted the breadth of his port de bras. Weber’s music itself seemed to drip from Ivan Putrov’s fingers as he held them above his head in Fokine’s Le Spectre de la Rose (1911). Francesca Hayward was spellbinding, in arabesque and bourrée, as the girl who dreams the ‘spectre’ into existence.

The second part of the evening opened with virtuosic display by bare-armed, bare-legged Giovanni Princic in Eric Gauthier’s ironic Ballet 101 (2006), but neither of the works that followed, Fokine’s Petrushka (1911), performed by Anton Lukovkin, and Nureyev’s Prince’s Variation from Swan Lake Act I (1964 ), Mathieu Ganio (again), ended with the impact they seemed to promise at their start.

In Ludovic Ondiviela’s world premiere, System/A.1, Ivan Putrov removes the wrapping from an apparently robotic Matthew Ball and both men embark on the second, searching dance piece of the evening by this choreographer. Like a work Ondiviela created for a Draft Works programme at the Royal Opera House in 2014 (for two female dancers), it shows an individual uncomfortably confronted by a second self.

After Daniel Proietto had returned for a third time to perform Alan Lucien Øeyen’s endlessly spinning Sinnerman (2014), to songs by Nina Simone, Alessandro Staiano and Marian Walter took up their places for Roland Petit’s Pas de deux from Proust ou les Intermittences du Coeur (1974). One of only two works (out of the programme’s thirteen) to show men dancing together, it uses all the resources of the ballet-trained, male body in an intense expression of homosexual desire. Especially so when Gabriel Fauré’s music is played live.

The curtain then fell to rise, after an arrangement of Boney M’s ‘Rasputin’, on the figure of Irek Mukhamedov. Grizzly-haired, in braces and vest, he sits on a wooden chest with arms raised in humorous acknowledgement of the audience’s veneration or surprise. The Men in Motion of 2017 might have started off in an odd way, but in Jingling from the Zills, the third of the evening’s new works, choreographed for Mukhamedov by Arthur Pita, it ended on a note that is both witty and humane.


Print Friendly


Leave a Reply

Recent Reviews


Season Previews

  • NEW! Opera and More in Buenos Aires in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! Gloucester Choral Society’s Hubert Parry’s Centenary Celebrations in May 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! Ex Cathedra at St John’s Smith Square’s 2017 Christmas Festival __________________________________
  • NEW! Spend a Penny for Grange Park Opera’s Lavatorium Rotundum __________________________________
  • NEW! Spitalfields Music Festival 2017 in December __________________________________
  • NEW! Bampton Classical Opera in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! The 2018 Lucerne Summer Festival __________________________________
  • NEW! World Premiere of The Nutcracker and I, by Alexandra Dariescu in December at Milton Court __________________________________
  • NEW! Leeds Lieder’s Forthcoming Schubert Song Series in Leeds and Sheffield __________________________________
  • UPDATED! English National Ballet’s 2017 – 2018 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Contemporary Music from Manchester’s Psappha in 2017-18 __________________________________
  • NEW! I Musicanti’s ‘Alexandra and the Russians’ at St Johns Smith Square, 2017-18 __________________________________
  • NEW! Anna Netrebko and Yusif Eyvazov’s Return to London in May 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! St John’s Smith Square announces its 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! The Pierre Boulez Saal’s 2017/18 Season in Berlin __________________________________
  • UPDATED! The Glyndebourne Opera Cup and Glyndebourne in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra’s 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Review Summary Newsletter

    Reviews by Reviewer

    News and Featured Articles

  • R.I.P. IN MEMORIAM – DMITRI HVOROSTOVSKY (1962-2017) __________________________________
  • NEW! Ann Murray’s Masterclass at the V&A Part of Opera: Passion, Power and Politics __________________________________
  • NEW! Carly Paoli is ‘Singing My Dreams’ at the Cadogan Hall in February 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! A Composer Speaks Up for the Environment: An Interview with Margaret Brouwer __________________________________
  • NEW! Twelve Years of Celebrating Malcolm Arnold in Northampton __________________________________
  • NEW! What is the Critic’s Job? A Review of A. O. Scott’s Recent Book __________________________________
  • NEW! English Music Festival in Yorkshire Lifts the Lid Off an English Treasury __________________________________
  • NEW! A FULLY STAGED PILGRIM’S PROGRESS IN ORLEANS, MA __________________________________
  • NEW! JIŘÍ BĔLOHLÁVEK (1946-2017) AND THE CZECH CONDUCTING LEGACY __________________________________
  • NEW! JUSTIN DOYLE DISCUSSES MONTEVERDI WITH MARK BERRY __________________________________
  • NEW! Katie Lowe Wins the 2017 Elizabeth Connell Prize __________________________________
  • NEW! ITINÉRAIRE BAROQUE 2017: TON KOOPMAN TALKS TO COLIN CLARKE __________________________________
  • NEW! The Royal Opera House in Mumbai is Restored to its Former Glory __________________________________
  • NEW! iSING! – International Young Artists Festival in Suzhou, China __________________________________
  • Archives by Week

    Archives by Month

    Search S&H