Bavarian State Ballet Contributes to Maliphant’s Quartet of Pieces


, Various composers, Conceal/Reveal: Russell Maliphant Company, Sadler’s Wells, London, 26.11.2015 (J.O’D)

pic credit Hugo Glendinning

pic credit Hugo Glendinning


Spiral Pass
Dancers from Bayerisches Staatsballett
Principal Dancers: Lucia Lacarra, Marlon Dino
Dancers: Luiza Bernardes Bertho, Séverine Ferrolier, Antonia McAuley, Jonah Cook, Erik Murzagaliyev, Nicholas Losada, Robin Strona, Olzhas Tarlanov, Shawn Throop
Director/Choreographer: Russell Maliphant
Lighting Designer: Michael Hulls
Composer: Mukul
Costume Designer: Stevie Stewart


Broken Fall
Dancers: Adam Kirkham, Yu-Hsien Wu, Nathan Young
Director/Choreographer: Russell Maliphant
Lighting Designer: Michael Hulls
Composer: Barry Adamson
Music: By arrangement with Novello & Co Limited


<<both, and>>
Dancer:         Dana Fouras
Director/Choreographer: Russell Maliphant
Lighting Designer: Michael Hulls
Composer: Mukul


Piece No. 43
Dancers: Dana Fouras, Adam Kirkham, Carys Staton, Yu-Hsien Wu, Nathan Young
Director/Choreographer: Russell Maliphant
Lighting Designer: Michael Hulls
Composer: Mukul
Music: Tidal/Atacama & Beethoven, Piano Sonata No. 14 in C sharp Minor. Piano by Jenö Jandó. Courtesy of Shuttersttock, Inc.
Costume Designer: Stevie Stewart


This four-work programme marks twenty years of collaboration between lighting designer, Michael Hulls, and choreographer and dancer, Russell Maliphant. For Hulls, light and dance are ‘indivisible’. Maliphant’s choreography shows influences of the classical ballet in which he trained, and also of other movement styles such as capoeira, yoga and t’ai chi. His work often focuses on movement in the body rather than through space. In his introduction to the current programme, Maliphant writes: ‘I wanted to create an evening that would show something we had made in the past…; and create new works that took us somewhere different.’

Eleven dancers from the Bayerisches Staatsballet make a guest appearance to perform the evening’s opening work, Spiral Pass, which was premiered by their company in 2014. This starts with a duet for principal dancers Lucia Lacarra and Marlon Dino in which the man spins the woman in the air, and balances her across his shoulders and thighs (like the man in James Cousins’s There We Have Been). Later, Lacarra seems to walk on air as she steps from forearm to forearm of the men who support her upright body. She looks at the audience, conscious of her power and her daring. Yet when the man on whose arm she stands cuts away, she can only wait to be caught by another of the men.

Much of the piece is rather evenly lit, as if to display the company’s talents. For the soloists and members of the corps de ballet there are more shaded sections in which the women appear between oblongs of light, like balletic ice-skaters, while the men spin at floor level like breakdancers. Sometimes they spin on their knees, something at which the supple soloist Jonah Cook excels.

Broken Fall is the work from 2003 that ‘rejuvenated’ the career of Sylvie Guillem. Russell Maliphant describes it as ‘pivotal’ in his and Hulls’s process together. Yet on this programme they look slightly dated, the barrel spins, and somersaults into lifts, and dancer Yu-Hsien Wu’s dramatic, stiff-bodied, backward fall from one of the two men’s shoulders. This man is Nathan Young, who has left English National Ballet to join the Russell Maliphant Company. His soft arms are perfect in the programme’s endpiece. For this hard-edged dance a harder body, like that of the other man (Adam Kirkham), may be what’s called for.

The first new work to be performed is a solo by Dana Fouras (Russell Maliphant’s wife), who returns to the stage, as Sarah Crompton tells us in the programme notes, after an absence of ten years. In 1998, Fouras was the dancer revolving confidently at gathering speed in the chiaroscuro of Two. In the tentatively titled <<both, and>> she revolves for much of the time behind three shadows of herself that are projected on to a semi-transparent screen. The shadows become other selves, but the most interesting section of the piece is that in which Foras dances, always behind the screen, alone.

Piece No 43, the closing work, takes Maliphant and Hulls away from the chiaroscuro certainties and confidently revolving bodies of earlier collaborations to a place where the shadows are grey and movement itself is temporarily withheld. The five dancers stop revolving in their oblongs of overhead light to assume poses that make them as beautiful as statues (Nathan Young, in particular), as sinister as waxworks. A single, shroud-like piece of fabric hangs in different ways from the costume of each. As they pose it is the light that moves, flashing over the oblongs in turn as if reflected from a passing train.

The soundtrack, too, is less ‘ambient’ than in other work by this choreographer. The outside world intrudes in the form of sirens heard from a distance, a radio being tuned, Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight Sonata’. Imperfectly constructed, perhaps, the piece impresses for its surprising sense of mortality. The dancers at the end are briefly seen, one by one, like moths in flickering light before they expire.

John O’Dwyer

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The Nutcracker: Nao Sakuma as the Sugar Plum Fairy; photo: Steve Hanson

The Nutcracker: Nao Sakuma as the Sugar Plum Fairy; photo: Steve Hanson

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Murmur_Photo Sean Goldthorp 4

Aakash Odedra’s Murmur (c) Sean Goldthorp

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RNZB dancers in MTM The Anatomy of a Passing Cloud Photo  Evan Li

RNZB dancers in The Anatomy of a Passing Cloud (c) Evan Li

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Phoenix Dance - Bloom 07 PHOTO Brian Slater

Phoenix Dance Theatre’s Bloom (c) Brian Slater

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Carlos Acosta’s Carmen (part of a mixed bill including Viscera, Afternoon of a Faun and Tchaikovsky Pas de deux): Soloists, Corps de ballet and Royal Opera House Orchestra / Emmanuel Plasson and Martin Yates (conductors). Directed for the screen by Ross MacGibbon and broadcast to the Empire Cinema, Basildon, Essex. 12.11.2015. (JPr)

Carmen c Dave Morgan

Carmen with Marialena Nuñez (Carmen) and Carlos Acosta (Don José) (c) Dave Morgan

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Sasha Waltz’s Dance Triple Bill Enthuses Audience


  Debussy, Berlioz, Stravinsky , Sacre:  Sasha Waltz & Guests, Sadler’s Wells, London 11.11.2015 (J.O’D)

Sasha Waltz & Guests Scène d'Amour Emanuela Montanari, Antonino Sutera

Sasha Waltz & Guests
Scène d’Amour
Emanuela Montanari, Antonino Sutera

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  The Art of Falling: Hubbard Street and The Second City, Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles, 6.11.2015-8.11-2015. (JRo)

Photo (c) Todd Rosenberg

The Art of Falling (c) Todd Rosenberg

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