Friday, 30 December 2016

The Terpsichore Titles: Ballet of 2016

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John Cranko is my all time favourite choreographer and my favourite of his ballets is and has always been The Taming of the Shrew (see Cranko's "Taming of the Shrew": Now's our chance to see one of the Ballets everyone should see before they die 21 Sept 2013). But in January I was introduced to another ballet also called The Taming of the Shrew to which I took an immediate shine (see Competition for Cranko: The Bolshoi's Taming of the Shrew streamed from Moscow 25 Jan 2016);

When the Bolshoi visited Covent Garden I was in the audience for the British premiere. It was an extraordinary night and the applause exploded. Especially when Jean-Christophe Maillot appeared to take his curtain call. In Bolshoi's Triumph - The Taming of the Shrew 4 Aug 2016 I wrote:
"The Bolshoi Ballet has always been respected in this country but until last night I don't think it has ever been loved. There are many reasons for that, not least the fact that the company was seen as an instrument of Soviet soft power during the cold war coming to London as it did in the year the tanks rolled into Budapest. That may have changed with the London premiere of Jean-Christophe Maillot's The Taming of the Shrew for the audience really warmed to the show. Standing ovations are quite rare in the Royal Opera House but when Maillot appeared to take a bow several members of the audience (including yours truly) felt compelled to rise."
Cranko remains my all time favourite choreographer and Shrew had my favourite of his works but, as I said in my review, there are features of Maillot's production that I think I prefer.Cranko's work and Maillot's are very different but each has its strengths.

There have been so many fine new ballets this year. The Tempest by David Bintley,  David Dawson's Swan Lake, Ted Brandsen's Mata Hari and Cathy Marston's Jane Eyre not to mention shorter works such as Chris Marney's To Begin, Begin, Wayne McGregor's Multiverse and Carbon Life. In any other year I would have chosen any of them as my ballet of the year. But Jean-Christophe Maillot's Taming of the Shrew made a special impression on me and it would have been unjust not to recognize it.

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