Woolf Works opens with a recording of Virginia Woolf herself reading from her lecture On Craftsmanship, “Words, English words, are full of echoes, memories, associations …”. If the purpose of ballet is ultimately communication, Wayne McGregor has set himself a problem: how is it possible to add to what Virginia Woolf has already said with words in the three books that inspire the ballet? The depth and density of Woolf’s writing as she moves in and out of the minds of her characters cannot be directly replicated in dance, but by taking themes in the novels as a jumping-off ground, McGregor and his dancers are able to use movement to delve into the human psyche. (more…)

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The Royal Ballet’s Artist in Residence Liam Scarlett has become known for ballets that marry highly expressive movement, sophisticated musical response and dark psychological depth – in such works for The Royal Ballet as Asphodel Meadows, Sweet Violets and The Age of Anxiety on the main stage, and Hansel and Gretel in the Linbury Studio Theatre. Now he creates his first full-length work for the main stage with Frankenstein, a period adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Gothic tale of morality and our craving for love, companionship and understanding.  Wednesday 18th May’s performance will be relayed live from the Royal Opera House to national and international cinemas, including Phoenix Picturehouse and Odeon Magdalen Street in Oxford.

For this new work Scarlett has assembled a number of regular collaborators. American composer Lowell Liebermann, whose First Piano Concerto provides the music for Scarlett’s Viscera, composes a new score.  John Macfarlane (Asphodel Meadows, Sweet Violets, The Age of Anxiety) creates the designs, while David Finn provides lighting design.  Dancers include Federico Bonelli, Laura Morera and Steven McRae.

Performance:  Wednesday 18th May 2016, 7.15pm

Phoenix Picturehouse, 57 Walton Street, Oxford OX2 6AE:   Tickets £8-£20  bookable online here

Odeon, Magdalen St, Oxford OX1 3AE:  Tickets £12.50-£15  bookable online here

Find out more about the production here

 

 

Photographer Rick Guest‘s latest publication What Lies Beneath accompanies the exhibition of the same name to be held at the Hospital Club Gallery in January 2016.  Featuring an incredible range of companies such as The Royal Ballet, The English National Ballet, The Richard Alston Dance Company, The Dresden Semperoper, The Royal Danish Ballet and Wayne McGregor Random Dance, it includes images of dancers such as Alban Lendorf, Tamara Rojo, Sergei Polunin, Sarah Lamb, Steven McRae, Zenaida Yanowsky, Edward Watson, Olivia Cowley, Nehemiah Kish, Hikaru Kobayashi, Federico Bonelli, and Yuhui Choe.  With a foreword by Tamara Rojo, Director and Lead Principal of the English National Ballet and an incisive essay by Sarah Crompton, this book is in a limited first run of 1000 copies, exquisitely printed by PUSH Print, and is in a large format, 300mm x 370mm.

Rick Guest writes:

“I wanted to make a series of portraits of the dancers themselves, as opposed to dancers dancing, to show the character that underpins their performance, to see the determination and sacrifice that it takes to succeed at such a high level.  In an art form that deliberately conceals the enormity of effort that goes into its creation, we are not meant to see behind the curtain, but I think that this does a great disservice to the dancers, and that having a sense of what lies beneath both enhances our experience of the performance and leads to a more profound appreciation of the dancer’s essential being.  These portraits are at once beautiful and brutal.”

What Lies Beneath is available from 15th December 2105 from rg-books.com
Further work can be viewed at rg-dance.com

Check out information about Rick Guest’s previous book of photographs The Language of the Soul here

Exhibition What Lies Beneath

Dates:  22nd-31st January 2016

Venue:  The Hospital Club Gallery, 24 Endell Street, London WC2H 9HQ

The Hospital Club Gallery

 

A welcome opportunity to see The Royal Ballet in a ballet which has established itself as one of the great 20th century narrative works.  The Phoenix Picturehouse will be showing a live transmission of  Kenneth MacMillan‘s Manon from the Royal Opera House on Thursday 16th October.

Manon Lescaut is a beautiful young woman who falls prey to the moral corruption of 18th century Paris.  Set to music by Jules Massenet, MacMillan’s ballet brings Manon’s story vividly to life, evoking the brutality and decadence described in the Abbé Prévost’s infamous novel, as well as the feckless character of Manon herself – torn between love for the poet Des Grieux and her desire for money and attention. The cast of complex characters includes the callous Monsieur GM, the swaggering Jailer, Manon’s roguish brother Lescaut and his coquettish Mistress; but at the ballet’s heart are the duets MacMillan created for Manon and Des Grieux, which are among the most emotionally intense and erotically charged ever choreographed. (more…)

For an Easter holiday treat why not take the family to see the live screeening of the Royal Ballet in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland at the Phoenix Picturehouse?  Those familiar with Lewis Carroll’s literary menagerie of colourful characters will enjoy the clarity with which Christopher Wheeldon portrays them in dance in this imaginative recent ballet, a feast of colour, music and choreography. (more…)