Arts Review: Spring!

Scottish Ballet, Chor. Sophie Laplane and Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Theatre Royal, 4th April 2019

The Scottish Ballet’s most recent performance, the aptly named: Spring!, was a performance that came alive and left me buzzing with positive energy. Spring! is a double bill consisting of Sophie Laplane’s world premier Dextera, followed by Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Elite Syncopations. Although each piece was unique in its theme and style, both shared a sense of vibrancy and positive energy that was passed onto the audience. Their reactions were expressed in moments of loud laughter and awed silences at the ingenuity of the performance and impressive technique.

The first part, Dextera, celebrated creativity and creators. Its leitmotif was introduced from the start, as a dancer put on a red glove which subsequently seemed to have a mind of its own, guiding him across the stage in a series of movements. Later, the gloved hands are shown molding the movements of female dancers who respond in puppet-like motions to the power of the creator’s hands. This scene in particular was a fantastic show of the company’s synchronisation, as each pair of dancers moved in perfect and sharp unity to excerpts of Mozart. By the end, the gloves are stolen and hunted as various dancers move across the stage in a flurry of activity and passion. The performance was described as an ode to ‘creators and their hands, paying tribute to artistic vision which often involves hard physical graft’. By the interval, I was convinced that the performance was itself fulfilling what it was celebrating.

Elite Syncopations did not achieve a similar level of sharp technique and perfect synchronisation. However, it did add another element to the evening, by introducing a bombastic stage aesthetic, individual characters, and humour. The individually painted costumes were simply thrilling, bursting with colour, humour, and artistic flair. By putting the musicians in 1920s costumes and on stage, the whole stage seems filled to the bursting with activity. Most uniquely, however, was how the dancers managed to express individual character traits, so that I could identify shy lovers, erotic women, fawning men, and arrogant perfectionists. Together, this motley of characters created an enjoyable mix of constantly changing emotions, and, most notably, a lot of laughter.

Taken together, the evening was, simply put, an invitation to take part in the Spring! of life.

[Kirsty Campbell – @KirstyCampbell3]

[Image credit: Andy Ross]

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