English National Ballet School December Showcase

English National Ballet School Studio Theatre
December 8, 2016

Maggie Foyer

Most vocational dance schools wait for the summer to open their doors for a public performance but the ENBS leapt in early and delivered a real cracker of a show in their studio theatre. The students, drawn from all three years, showed remarkable maturity and professionalism, dancing with real passion in choreographed classroom sequences as well as excerpts from the classical repertoire. Notable throughout was the keen musicality as all movements were given full value and taken to the end of the phrase.

Most impressive were the pas de deux and the students’ own choreography. The demonstration of pas de deux was fiendishly difficult – choreography that would challenge professional dancers – yet the dancers grasped the challenge with true grit. There was nothing foolhardy, rather careful calculation, well-honed skill and the confidence to pull of daring lifts and intricate manoeuvres. If fortune favours the brave these young dancers have Lady Luck on their side.

The student choreography was also a treat. The 1st-years had a one-minute limit, but Beatriz Kuperus packed in a great deal (maybe a little too much) of interesting contemporary movement in her work, Flash of Remembrance. This was particularly cheering as the year group had looked rather tense in their Graham contemporary classwork with movements that remained superficial rather than fully engaging.

My favourite was the 2nd-year quartet, Unpredictable that was given a confident, professional performance by choreographer/dancers, Joyce Dahl, Lorenzo Epifani, Yuki Nonaka and Jeong Eun Park. It showed sophisticated structure, innovative movements, including interesting partnering, and a distinctive style. Rhys Yeomans also gave a confident performance of Puck, a virtuoso solo choreographed by 3rd-year, Daniel Myers. There were seven short choreographies in all and throughout the quality was impressive.

The senior students get a number of performance opportunities with the English National Ballet and this was apparent in their repertoire work, which included the Pas de Six from Vasili Vainonen’s, The Nutcracker. The young dancers had the ease that comes from regular audience contact and the chance to share their pleasure. Director of Dance, Samira Saidi, has a school to be proud of.