Birmingham Royal Ballet are at Sadler’s Wells this week with classics of British ballet repertoire, not to be missed if you have a chance, a triple bill under the name of Autumn Glory and Ashton’s much loved La Fille Mal Gardee.

Maggie Watson writes:

Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Autumn Glory programme was a great treat.  I had never seen Checkmate before, and last saw Symphonic Variations and Pineapple Poll about 40 years ago.  Having said that, I was a little disappointed by the performance of Checkmate that I saw at the Wednesday matinee.  Perhaps I expected too much, but the impression that I had carried with me from photographs that I saw as child was of a more menacing Black Queen and a more intense sense of drama.  Nevertheless, there was much to enjoy in the staging and I loved the petit allegro steps of the red pawns, whose sense of the geometry of the choreography had to be impeccable on the chessboard stage.  Symphonic Variations, on the other hand, was outstanding, and completely lived up to my memories. The restraint, the unity of music, set and dance and the complete lack of extraneous material or adornment made it an intensely moving experience, and it was worth travelling to Sadlers Wells just for those 21 minutes.  The final ballet, Pineapple Poll, was delightfully danced with great humour and charm, but for me, anything after Symphonic Variations was bound to be an anticlimax.

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