San Francisco Ballet: Liang / Marston / Pita at Sadler’s Wells
With Helgi Tomasson at the helm, it is no doubt that San Francisco Ballet was destined for great things. Since his appointment as the company’s artistic director in 1985, Tomasson has not only contemporised ballet; he has revolutionised it. The company, one of the most renowned in the world, bridges the gap between dance and gymnastics, combining elegance with the experimental to create an eclectic piece of theatre that takes this delicate art form to a whole new and breath-taking level.
Leading the way with four triple bills, Programme B – comprising the choreography of Edwaard Liang, Cathy Marston and Arthur Pita – sees Sadler’s Wells experience a total of three set changes, ranging from the simple to the thrillingly complex, the spiritual to the materialistic. However, it is Pita’s Björk Ballet which is the stand-out contender of the night. His sequence, an almost classicised Cirque du Soleil, is the perfect by-product of what one might label a well-rehearsed carnival. Imbued with beauty, particularly during the troupe’s interaction with a bunch of magnetic chandeliers which surreptitiously emerge from the sky, is precious. The use of a reflective glass floor aids the narrative, creating a rippling effect which has an almost celestial quality to it, making it seem as though the masked fisherman are truly walking on water. Then, as if this were not stunning enough, out emerges an inclined rectangular board, upon which the dancers perform their mid-air aerobics, whilst their peers funnel around and under the device. It is a hugely explosive and colourful piece – synchronised to the melancholic voice of Icelandic singer Björk herself – and makes for a hauntingly beautiful experience.
Gone are the days when tutus were the thing, for in these shows there is not one in sight. Classical and neoclassical ballet are about to be wholly refined and the San Francisco team are here to show the world how.
Photos: Ambra Vernuccio
San Francisco Ballet is at Sadler’s Wells from 29th May until 8th June 2019. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.