Programme 1 – Boston Ballet: London Coliseum. 3 July 2013

Boston a gut

Whitnet Jensen takes air guitar to new heights in Jorma Elo's Plan To Be. Photo by Gene Schiavone

Whitney Jensen, Jeffrey Cirio and Bo Busby put their feet up in Jorma Elo’s Plan To Be. Photo by Gene Schiavone

London Coliseum’s curtain rose at 7.30 to applause at the sight of a host of ballerinas bathed in pale blue light standing in readiness for George Balanchine’s Serenade. Not a bad way for Boston Ballet to start their first tour to London in 30 years.

Traditionally associated with Balanchine, the company’s Serenade was lovely to watch without knocking the socks off – Misa Kuranaga was particularly good with a dazzling array of sharply executed spins. The other Balanchine piece of the night, Symphony in Three Movements, packed more punch and saw the entire company throwing themselves into their jumps and turns with an attacking drive and flair. Again it was one of ladies that stood out; this time it was Kathleen Breen Combes who displayed an easy confidence and a wonderfully playful expression.

It wasn’t all about Balanchine though. This opening programme included work created over the course of a hundred years. Oldest of them was Nijinsky’s 1912 Afternoon of a Faun, the music to which was played rather well by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra here. Altan Dugaraa made a decent faun with an impressive leap but there was a distinct lack of sexual tension on show, although a row of young girls in the stalls seats did giggle nervously when Lorna Feijóo reached forward to taste the grapes strapped to his groin.

The highlight of the night was the newest work. Plan to B, created on the company in 2004, came from the mind of Jorma Elo, Boston Ballet’s resident choreographer. It played beautifully to the six dancers’ strengths; fast yet elegant it captured the restlessness of Biber’s baroque chamber music in a constant seam of motion. Lia Cirio gave a series of delicious body ripples, Whitney Jensen was a veritable cornucopia of intriguing body shapes and Jeffrey Cirio offered up some remarkably athletic twisting leaps. It was a dynamic and bold performance which neatly summed up the forward thinking approach of a company that had appeared to be in the doldrums a decade or so ago and which is a joy to have now in the capital.

Programme 1 runs again on 4, 6 & 7 July 2013 while an even more exciting looking Programme 2 (that includes Kylián, Forsythe and a dash of Wheeldon) runs from 5-7 July. Tickets can be bought from the eno website.

Gerard Davis

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