Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Fabulous contemporary dance

A few weeks ago we went with Lorna and Richard to see the Henri Oguike dance company perform in the newly-refurbished Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds, and I have to say, I was pretty disappointed.  There were some interesting ideas, but overall, it just didn't do anything for me.  I wondered whether it was the performance, or me, and couldn't come to any conclusions.

So I was looking forward with some trepidation to last night's performance by Ballet Black in the Cambridge Arts Theatre.  I needn't have worried - it was simply stunning!

This show celebrates the tenth anniversary of the founding of the company, and they performed five pieces, four dating from 2001, 2005, 2009 and 2010, giving a flavour of the way the company had changed over the years, while the fifth was the premiere performance of Orpheus. 

Eurydice, wife of the great musician, singer and poet, Orpheus, has died after being bitten by a snake.  An inconsolable Orpheus descends into the Underworld to try to reclaim her.  He charms the dead by playing his lyre and Hades, King of the Underworld gives him the chance to reclaim his wife.  However, he must return to the land of the living blindfolded.

Orpheus agrees, but as they draw close to the surface, he can bear it no longer, and rips the blindfold from his eyes, and Eurydice dragged back to the Underworld and dies for a second time.  The Furies, who guard the entrance to the Underworld then tear Orpheus limb from limb.
This was the first performance we've seen by Ballet Black of a dance with a story.  It was beautifully danced, and completely clear what was going on.  At the end I, like many in the audience, had tears streaming down my face.  If you get the chance to see it, you must do so!

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