Frederick Ashton’s much-loved “Rhapsody” is perhaps epitomised by the scene in which six male dancers hold the lead aloft and parade him around like a king, a ring of glittering ballerinas encircling the reverent display. The plotless ballet, created as a birthday present for the Queen Mother in 1980 and presented here as part of a double bill celebrating the Royal Ballet’s founding choreographer, is all about spectacle—in fact, Ashton specifically enlisted Mikhail Baryshnikov, Russian virtuoso extraordinaire, for the starring role to ensure the piece had a central spark powerful enough to ignite the blaze of majesty he envisioned.
Francesca Hayward and James Hay in Frederick Ashton's “Rhapsody.” Photograph by Helen Maybanks
The son of a painter and a set designer, director/choreographer Jean-Christophe Maillot was, it seems, destined to have a life in the theater. Born and raised in Tours, in central France, in 1960, he studied dance and piano at the Conservatoire Nacional de Région de Tours before joining the Rosella Hightower International School of Dance in Cannes.Continue Reading
One would think that a dance inspired by the events of the January 6 insurrection—yes, a dance!—would not be the ideal stuff of theater, but the eight members of Laurie Sefton Creates (formerly Clairobscur Dance Company), succeeded in giving life to Sefton’s premiere “Herd. Person?”, while the dance, itself, was occasionally problematic.Continue Reading