Sadlers Wells, London
February 28th 2010
Marianela Nunez and Thiago Soares danced the Act 111 Pas de Deux from Swan Lake, which is familiar, and yet strangely not, tonight. Nunez has exquisite arms and uses them to full effect, literally dripping every languorous note and making dreamily fluid shapes. I thought this already adagio pas de deux was danced even more slowly, which only served to show Nunez’ steely control through every twist and turn, and as one audience member described to me, Nunez is “perfection personified.” Soares conveyed the story clearly; not easy when the sets and the core (see what I did there) of the ballet – the swans - are missing.
The central Pas de Deux from Wayne McGregor’s Limen contrasts darkness and light. Sarah Lamb is dancing her finest pieces at the moment, and wonderfully paired with Eric Underwood they barely separate throughout this intricate pas de deux. Lamb’s flexibility is evident here, but Underwood controls this so that she is never over-contorted, and together they are both graceful and elegant.
After the interval, Galeazzi and the magnetic Gary Avis danced to Alistair Marriott’s choreography in Lieder, with music by Brahms. The piece was in two halves; the second was incredibly beautiful, Galeazzi flowing with emotion. Avis is watchable even when he's not moving and adds drama and depth to every nuance.
More of Galeazzi’s humour was in evidence with Four Poofs and a Piano (curiously without the piano), who said that they have “taken liberties because we can” with a Bollywood interpretation, another of which has recently been seen, also in a fund-raiser - BBC’s Let’s Dance for Comic Relief. As one audience member, Margaret, described to me, they “blew in and blew out.”
One of the reasons for buying tickets to a Gala is for the chance to see dancers away from their natural habitat. When it works, it’s magic. But sometimes you get even more. Steven McRae is a talented classical dancer but that’s not all he can do, and this evening he choreographed for himself – a tap dancing, slightly rascally spirited piece to Sing, Sing, Sing by Benny Goodman. Called Something Different, he tapped his way at a ferocious lick around the stage and found the time to include some of the virtuoso spins and turns for which he is so well known. The audience roared.
In a deliberate move by Galeazzi, O Magnum Mysterium, sung by Ensemble WC2E, closed the show in a sombre and moving, almost spiritual way. Galeazzi and her fellow dancers joined them on stage, with Galeazzi taking the unusual step of speaking, to thank the audience and to say how much this means to her. The good news is that with your help, enough money has been raised for a group of dancers to go to Africa next summer, where they will continue the work and financial assistance that was so appreciated in 2007.
You can see Mara dancing at the Royal Opera House tomorrow night, Tuesday and Thursday in Infra (part of the triple bill reviewed here). If you have been inspired to see more of Mara’s Juliet, she will be dancing the role on Saturday evening with Ed Watson.
If you would like to learn more about Mara's charity, please have a look at her new website, where she has a beautiful opening sequence, and it's where you can also make a donation if you would like to.