2015 Season Review: Kensington, Chelsea & Westminster Today

National Youth Ballet hosts Gala for its 28th Season

By Rosie Quigley – Kensington, Chelsea & Westminster Today
October 2015

Last month, the NYB (National Youth Ballet) gave a formidable performance at the Sadler’s Wells Theatre to celebrate its 28th season. Dancers from a range of ages took to the stage with perfect poise and panache as they moved through the plethora of changing scenes. These were directed and choreographed by some of the industry’s leading names.

The Gala showcased the work of emerging choreographers in the Beyond Ballet [platform]: Athena by Arielle Smith, Venn by Eleanor Marsh, and Trotters by Jamie Neale all premiered in this section. Taking inspiration from the famed GiselleAthena puts a much darker twist on the love story; the section is set in a gloomy underworld where two lovers fight for doomed love. An ensemble, led by Bryony Harrison, clad in horned headpieces and leather jackets performed as an unbroken, fiery unit – their movements were mesmerising to watch. One couldn’t help feel sorry for Chris Thomas, the male protagonist in the scene, who was being tracked around the set by the hostile pack.

In Four Seasons, dancers were challenged by the Vivaldi score but none the less manoeuvred with elegance; the only hiccup in the scene was when two dancers took a tumble, nevertheless handled so impeccably that it looked deliberate.

The NYB was joined onstage by the National Youth Jazz Orchestra for a riotous performance of Trotters in which dancers jived and strutted to rousing jazz. During a beautiful rendition of Tarantella small but mighty younger dancers showed their power, creating a wonderfully colourful display.

Wayne Sleep staged staged the show’s dazzling closing scene Cinderella in which Molly Rees, Cinderella, danced a stunning and heartfelt performance. The scene itself was spectacular, with all the magic and imagination of a fairy tale. At one point, tiny mice flooded the stage, using their tails as skipping ropes as a pumpkin gambled around them. Costumes were vibrant and complemented the fantasy of the set design. If this year’s NYB Gala is anything to go by, I look forward to the delights of 2016.