BA Modern Ballet:Graduation Performance 2019

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow

Mary Brennan

four stars

A lot of what this faculty achieves is, proactively done, outside of the ‘Toire’s own studios. Some graduating students have already experienced what it means to be part of a professional company, touring venues with SB’s Wee Hansel & Gretel. Meanwhile the exchange initiative with Canada’s Ballet Divertimento (BD) continues, with their Montreal students joining forces with Year 2 on-stage and BD’s resident choreographer, Owen Montague, contributing two short works to this end-of-term programme.

Montague’s Signature, set to music by Vivaldi, is a handsome showcase for the classic ballet technique of the Year 3 Ladies. They come together in ensemble patterns that - like the extract from Giselle Act 2 which opens proceedings - demand an exact focus, an awareness of in-synch body line and sustained elegance. For partners, the ladies had to call on lads from Year 2 - well done, lads, for being unstintingly supportive! Elsewhere the mood and movement shifted off-pointe and went razzle-dazzle hoofing in Dreamgirls, choreographed to songs from the musical by Rowan McGregor for Years 1 and 2 who slinked, shimmied and kicked up their heels like Broadway troupers. Another shift of emphasis - and a reminder that ballet is only part of the curriculum here. Contemporary dance challenges the students to get ‘grounded’ in a different relationship between feet and floor. Diana Loosemore, a frequent contributor to these programmes really knows how to get bodies exploring the dynamics of oppositional tensions or the shared energies of close-linked double-work. For Rosie Mackley (a Year 2 student), choreography is a new challenge. Surveillance had her black-clad ‘spies’ not just prowly-watchful, but witty with it. Live music from the Broen Ensemble, and from Andrea and Djordje Gajic, added a real flourish to dance that engages with real flair across a spectrum of styles. Nest step for some, is a professional contract - Hannah Cubitt, an imperious Myrtha in the Giselle is joining Scottish Ballet in September.