Review: Birmingham Royal Ballet. Royal and Derngate

Birmingham Royal Ballet

25th April

The talent, skill, and sheer dedication it takes to be a ballet dancer is not for the faint hearted- which is why performances by the Birmingham Royal Ballet are so mesmerising to watch. Every piece tells a passionate, beautiful story without uttering a single word, bonding the audience together in a moment of clarity. The show begins and ends as if a rehearsal is starting then ending, which further makes their incredibly difficult art appear effortless.

The solos especially are absolutely jaw-dropping. Regan Hutsell commands the stage in “Je ne Regrette Rien”, going from a supposed background character to a performer and we can’t take our eyes off her. The piece is about not regretting anything, and if her pieces are like this then she has no reason to regret the time and effort put into perfecting her craft.

She is immediately followed by another exquisite performance by Enrique Bejarano Vidal in Les Bourgeois. He makes his debut by participating in her dance. They have a few moments where they share choreography, but he really comes into his own element with his dance afterwards. It is incredible to see just one person be able to grasp the attention of everyone in the audience and not lose it for a single second. The choreography for both pieces are done by Ben Van Cauwenbergh, which explains how they complement each other so delightfully.

A number of performances feature romantic undertones, and while they all tell their own stories very beautifully, the best one is Carmen, by Olivia Chang Clarke and Eric Pinto Cata. Together they add a new level of passion to an already well-known composition. The two are able to obtain incredible chemistry on stage, a rare talent in itself that adds layers to the already powerful performance. The cherry on top is the stunning golden lighting, making it feel like you’re watching two lovers in the sunset. The choreography, by Carlos Acosta, invokes a feeling of adoration from the audience that is most present in this dance.

It is without a doubt that every dancer exhibits a level of professionalism and elegance that could not be found anywhere else. Each performer has clearly rehearsed hard to be about to perform so flawlessly under pressure. The downfall of the production is a lot of dances have too similar a theme where the storylines feel a little repetitive. Many dances in a row are romantic-themed, and while it allows for an exhibition of various complicated moves, it doesn’t give some dancers the full opportunity to stand out that they are deserve. There is also a slow start to the 2nd act where after the band finishes playing, the curtain stays in place for a few minutes which leaves the audience confused and whispering amongst themselves, although it isn’t obvious whether this was a deliberate choice or not.

That being said, overall, the show itself is amazing. I appreciate the multi-story approach, which each being captivating with no words said. Although, they could have a bit more range. The band is phenomenal also, to be able to play without any slip ups under the eyes of a large audience is incredible. The music adds so much to the show, really emphasising the emotions of the dances. It is a thoroughly enjoyable show, and I would recommend it in high regards, as would the audience who has a standing ovation for about 10 minutes following the bows. It’s enough to wow a room, but also make any aspiring ballerina look on with pride and hopefulness that their hard work will eventually manifest into something brilliant like this.


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