La Valse / Invitus Invitam / Winter Dreams / Theme and Variations
Production photos from the latest Mixed Programme.
Frederick Ashton’s wonderful homage to the waltz, La Valse, opened the Royal Ballet’s mixed bill on 15 October. Set to Maurice Ravel’s evocative score, originally commissioned for the Ballets Russes in 1919, it uses the entire corps-de-ballet to fill the stage with whirling, waltzing dancers in a mist-filled ballroom.
Kim Brandstrup’s new work Invitus Invitam is his second main-stage piece for The Royal Ballet. It has at its centre an extended pas de deux to Thomas Adès’ Baroque-inspired Three Studies after Couperin. Unusually, the new piece flows straight on from the one the before it, allowing an unprecedented view of the workings behind the scenes, and an intriguing balletic play on the world of the stage hand.
Winter Dreams is a MacMillan classic. It began as a specially commissioned ‘Farewell’ pas de deux to celebrate Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother’s 90th Birthday. MacMillan extended it to a one-act ballet and Winter Dreams had its premiere in February 1991. Inspired by, and using the same characters, it is a melancholic study of Chekhov’s play Three Sisters.
Balanchine’s plotless mini masterpiece Theme and Variations is a vision of the Imperial Ballet in its heyday. With music by Tchaikovsky and set in a grand, chandeliered ballroom, it evokes the classical splendour and grace of Russia’s Imperial Theatres.