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Scottish Ballet: Dance Odysseys

Sea of Troubles/ Silhouette

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Pierrot Lunaire

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Duets

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MAIN-STAGE, back-stage, even the upstairs foyer, have become stop-and-watch stations on Scottish Ballet's exhilarating travelogue of dance, where time-lines and style zones have been bridged by the unstintingly versatile bodies of (just about) every member of the company.

Family illness had prevented Edouard Lock from creating a new work for Scottish Ballet, but Friday evening's double bill of Kenneth MacMillan's SEA OF TROUBLES (1988) and Christopher Hampson's SILHOUETTE (2010) was much more than a stopgap piece of programming. MacMillan's take on Hamlet distils plot and central characters into an episodic jigsaw of lust, guilt and death where everyone is haunted by time being out of joint. Roles are interchangeable, the movement almost hyperventilates with stylised dramatic flourishes. Even so, the six dancers on the main stage found the emotional intensity in the non-naturalistic statements of inner turmoil that MacMillan set to Webern and Martinu. If Sea Of Troubles majored on "Sturm und Drang" Hampson's Silhouette breezed in with a tremendous reminder of how gloriously merry, elegant and timeless the classic ballet traditions can be. Poulenc's Concert champetre teased with mercurial shifts of mood, Hampson's black and white divisions - women in tutus, men in noble tunics and tights - responded in precise formations where playful shimmies and fizzy pointe-work showcased serious classical technique and humour alike.

IN 1962, Glen Tetley's PIERROT LUNAIRE breached the genre defences that kept ballet and contemporary dance on different sides of the fence. On Saturday night, Luke Ahmet took to the heights of Pierrot's scaffolding tower to get under the skin - and the liquid, acrobatic elan - of the white-face innocent whose trust is abused by a swaggering Brighella and an unscrupulous Columbine as his whore-accomplice - Owen Thorne and Bethany Kingsley-Garner are, like Ahmet, utterly compelling in their characterisation and connection with Tetley's choreography. Even so, It is Ahmet's night. An expressive tour-de-force that, at times, seems to float on the soaring, swooping thrill of soprano Alison Bell's live singing of the Schoenberg music (played by the RCS MusicLab). Fifty years on, Pierrot Lunaire still has a visionary beauty, a poetic wistfulness that embraces mankind's moonstruck hopes and vulnerabilities. An odyssey to cherish.

A studio space has been created on-stage and it's here that the programmes of short works take place. DUETS found Sophie Martin and Victor Zarallo interlocked in the slithery-fierce physicality of James Cousins's Jealousy, where Zarallo never loses his hold on her even in the sweat of the moment. Company member Sophie Laplane reveals a sharp, sussed instinct for eye-catching movement in Oxymore - so cool, it's hot with Brenda Lee Grech and Daniel Davidson dancing to the same beat, but with their own individual groove. Two "morsels" from the Darrell repertoire hinted at the emotional depths woven into his steps, but - with Bethany Kingsley-Garner's nuanced showing of Five Ruckert Songs especially - left you wanting more context. Helen Pickett's Trace was nicely to the pointe at the end.

The dance goes on today.

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