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Your Reaction: What did you think of The Human Seasons / After the Rain / Flight Pattern?

A round-up of reviews of The Royal Ballet's mixed programme of work by three contemporary choreographers – Crystal Pite, Christopher Wheeldon and David Dawson.

By Rose Slavin (Assistant Content Producer)

17 March 2017 at 10.40am | 13 Comments

Press Reviews:
Evening Standard ★★★★★
Financial Times ★★★★★
The Telegraph ★★★★
The Guardian ★★★★★ (FP) /★★★ (THS, ATR)
The Arts Desk ★★★★
Independent  ★★★★

What did you think of The Human Seasons / After the Rain / Flight Pattern?
Share your thoughts via the comments below:

The Human Seasons / After the Rain / Flight Pattern runs until 24 March 2017. Tickets are still available.

The mixed programme is staged with generous philanthropic support from the Taylor Family Foundation.
Flight Pattern is staged with generous philanthropic support from Richard and Delia Baker and Sue Butcher. After the Rain is staged with generous philanthropic support from Kenneth and Susan Green.


This article has 13 comments

  1. Julia jones responded on 18 March 2017 at 10:22am Reply

    Devastated to come all the way up from Wales to find the amazing dancers I had booked to see were swapped .Expected superstar Vadim Muntagirov and James Hay .ROH outrageous to put them in other cast .......Why bother to print cast if no notice taken??? I know people get injuries but neither Vadim or James is injured......Unhappy ballet watcher from Wales - may not bother next time - people in Wales pay taxes too!!

    • Mel Spencer (Content Producer (Social Media and News)) responded on 19 March 2017 at 8:58pm

      Dear Julia,

      Sorry to hear you were disappointed with your visit. We try to avoid changing casts as much as possible, but sometimes due to illness or injury we have to make changes, which we announce on the website as far ahead as we are able for all Principal roles. Occasionally these cast changes have knock-on effects for other performances in the run, so while they may not be injured, they may be dancing in the place of others who are, and as a result need days off to recuperate.

      Please keep an eye on the website and on our social media feeds for any cast changes for upcoming performances.

      We look forward to welcoming you again soon, and apologies again for any disappointment.

      All the best,


    • penelope simpson responded on 20 March 2017 at 9:19pm

      May I just say a word in the Royal Ballet's defence? Of all the ballet company's, I would say that the Royal Ballet is the least likely to change cast members. In this case I happen to know that two other dancers were ill and injured which meant that their places had to be filled which had a knock-on effect on other performances. Dancers have to be scheduled for proper rest periods, they can't do performance after performance.

      If you want to experience cast changes, try booking for either the Marinsky or the Bolshoi and you'll find out what the word change means! Or you could try booking for Jonas Kaufmann who hasn't made it on either of the two past occasions I had tickets! You were just unlucky but all the dancers at RB are terrific - they don't really go in for Super Stars

  2. Anne Dean responded on 18 March 2017 at 5:12pm Reply

    PLEASE release a DVD which includes Thiago and Marianella dancing that sublime pas de deus from Wheeldon's After the Rain.....they are peerless, and this beauty should be preserved forever. Thank you.

  3. Jane scott responded on 18 March 2017 at 10:24pm Reply

    What a wonderful evening, Yanowsky was sublime in After the rain, and Flight Pattern was extraordinary, very very powerful. MArcelino Sambe is a very exciting dancer.

  4. Flight Pattern - powerful and compelling, brilliant sets and lighting, magnificent dancing from all the dancers but especially Kristen McNally and Marcellino Sambe, who can move you to tears. Loved Human Seasons. Zenaida was beautiful in After the Rain- will miss her when she leaves the company after June.

  5. David Gifford responded on 19 March 2017 at 6:03pm Reply

    Great to see After the Rain once again. Yanowsky and Clarke were eloquent in the pas de deux.
    Flight Path was magnificent. The powerful imagery is still in my mind today. How wonderful to see the corps choreographed with such imagination and expressive power. The subtlety with which small groups and individuals moved from the crowd and back again was brilliantly handled, and Marcelino Sambe shone once again (what an asset to the company). The sets, lighting, and (beautifully chosen) music worked sublimely together and I look forward to seeing it again - next time, one hopes, not in combination with Human Seasons.

  6. elleG responded on 21 March 2017 at 8:43am Reply

    With reference to the cast change mentioned above in relation to Muntagirov. It said on the cast sheet simply that he replaced Edward Watson, not that Edward Watson was ill or injured. So it didn't sound 'last minute' but the change was announced online only the day before the opening night. My sympathies to those who are complaining. Of course, people buy tickets to see a particular programme but very, very many are also influenced by a desire to see individual dancers. And, unless there is a last minute emergency, much more notice should be given if a leading dancer is to be swapped from one cast to another (as appears to have happened here).

  7. Graham Kopka responded on 21 March 2017 at 10:25am Reply

    Bravo, Flight path is a brave and profound exploration of the refuge crisis.

  8. Nick B responded on 22 March 2017 at 10:32am Reply

    Went to Tuesday's performance. Flight Pattern unique and unforgettable. The classic After The Rain pas de deux with Yanowsky and Clarke beautifully done. Human Seasons superb start. Another terrific evening with the RB. If you are considering going, GO!

  9. elleG responded on 23 March 2017 at 11:13am Reply

    In view of today's press coverage concerning The Human Seasons, I want to send an enormous "thank you" to the Royal Ballet's wonderful dancers for the commitment they are showing throughout this triple bill. They are extraordinary artists who do not simply entertain us or make us gasp with admiration but nightly stir our emotions and lift our spirits. We are so fortunate to have you all in our lives.

    • Geoff responded on 23 March 2017 at 3:11pm

      Well said Elle. Seconded!

      Human Seasons is however a really weak piece, not deserving of the attention created by the tantrums of the choreographer and stager. Very surprised Dawson's dreary and derivative piece was given a repeat airing.

      But the After The Rain pas des deux and Flight Pattern are really great, so the evening builds satisfactorily.

  10. FLOSS responded on 23 March 2017 at 3:18pm Reply

    Of the three ballets in this mixed bill Flight Pattern was by far the most interesting and it was compellingly danced by its cast.

    After the Rain really is a ballet of two parts the pas de deux as danced by Yanowsky and Clarke was quite extraordinary. I am afraid that I don't find the first section half as interesting and the low lighting levels do not help..

    As far as I am concerned the least satisfactory ballet of the three was Human Seasons. I find it difficult to understand why this ballet was revived I find it as devoid of interest as it was in 2013 and I seriously considered arriving late or sitting outside the auditorium. But then there is always the hope that a different cast will reveal that the work contains something which other dancers have failed to bring out in it. As far as I can see the cast did their utmost to make this vacuous piece of choreography work. It seems to be full of clever partnering and images such as the "vacuum cleaner";women being moved across the floor on their fronts and a great deal of pointless running around. Perhaps I missed something but the dancers did keep merging into the background if not disappearing because of the designs and the lighting scheme.

    The low lighting levels for Flight Patterns were carefully judged and seemed devised for artistic effect. I feel sure that I saw everything that the choreographer wanted me to see. I am far from sure that is the case with Human Seasons.

    As a general comment I am afraid that I am beginning to resent the effort that I am forced to make to watch dimly lit dance works which are so often appear to be devoid of real choreographic content.

    .May I ask whether any one, say the choreographer, ever ventures into the Amphitheatre to see what their masterpieces look like and whether they are actually visible from the top of the theatre ? I know that tickets warn the audience when seats do not give a full view of the stage perhaps the ROH should add warnings about lack of visibility because of low lighting levels.

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