13.10.09

Ballet goes bling

If you follow this blog, chances are that those expensive little things you probably shouldn't spend your money on dance in front of your eyes when you look through the window of a jewellery shop. That's also the theme of 'Rubies', the opening piece of Scottish Ballet's touring show to mark their 40th anniversary. Gasps of delight went up along with the curtain at the sight of the fifteen beaming dancers wearing pantomime-style red outfits trimmed with chunky stones and offset by a deep blue background. It's adapted from a light, less Hammer Horror Stravinsky piece, with steps suggesting Jazz and Broadway shows, although some of the moves give the dancers toy-like gaits. Witty, sexy and slightly wicked.

Better still is 'Workwithinwork', a brilliant sequence based on Berio's eerie duet for two violins. Couples and small groups perform short pieces in quick succession against a dark backdrop featuring a row of pitch-black doorways. Er, is a dance with two dancers a couple? A duet? Anyway, it's based around the choreographer's interest in improvisation and the dancers create some fascinating unsynchronised combinations over a variety of short musical pieces, each in a different scale. There are a few nods towards dramatic gestures with dancers placed notably watching the action instead of participating, but overall it's an expressionist piece of atmosphere.

The celestial clockwork of Bach probably isn't a natural source for ballet music and the third piece is the slightest of the three. It's pleasing enough though, opening with a tender boygirl Aria, followed by some cool peasant flailing to the Gavotte; then some angst over the overplayed Hamlet advert 'Air On A G String' and an uplifting ensemble finale.

People should give Girl-e more free nights out, but bribery aside, 'Rubies' and its accompanying pieces are well worth sticking on the credit card. It’s now over in Glasgow, but will be playing in other Scottish cities like Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Inverness until the end of October.

Full information can be found here: www.scottishballet.co.uk

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