This isn’t a sponsored post.
BrumHour was invited to review this performance at Birmingham Rep by Birmingham Royal Ballet.
Review by Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour
Review: Birmingham Royal Ballet – Curated by Carlos at Birmingham Rep
Director: Carlos Acosta CBE, Music: Royal Ballet Sinfonia
Presented as a triple bill over one evening City of a Thousand Trades, Imminent and Chacona mark the first live performances for Birmingham Royal Ballet since October 2020.
As with previous performances since the beginning of Covid, Birmingham Rep requires temperature checks on everyone attending (within reason), mask-wearing and asks you to sign in to track and trace.
City of a Thousand Trades – World Premiere
Produced in association with Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Music: Mathias Coppens, Choreography and Co-Director: Miguel Altunaga, Dramaturg and Co-Director: Madeleine Kludje.
Featuring the voice of Birmingham Poet Laureate, Casey Bailey this thirty-minute performance explores the ideas of trade and influx of people that turned Birmingham from a small town in the late 1700s to the UK’s second largest city today with over a million people within its boundary.
Small misshapen cubes sit on the stage with poles lay around, each of the polls looks like scaffolding post but also double as a staff and a stick while the twelve performers interact with them and the voices of real Birmingham citizens discuss their experience of coming and living here.
Individualism, teamwork and finding a place in a community are just some of the themes explored through the movements. Dressed like a modern GAP advert, the blues of the costumes reflect the working class (blue collar) communities which still exist across the city, and while they are dressed like individuals collectively becomes a uniform.
Thoughtful, touching and filled with several genuinely joyous moments this is a snapshot of what life and living in Birmingham can feel like. This is endorsed by the music of a percussion band behind the dancers and an orchestra in the pit.
City of a thousand trades can be watched online with Birmingham International Dance Festival on Sunday 13th June. Book here: bidf.co.uk/shows/birmingham-royal-ballet-city-of-a-thousand-trades
Choreography: Daniela Cardim, Music: Paul Englishby, Dramaturg: Lou Cope
A group of people lost in their world of movement and dance find themselves split from their fellow performers when a large door appears in their space, first shining golden and then becoming blue as it opens further the group of five or six are suddenly awoken and distracted by what could be beyond this open door.
Is it exploring religion, sexuality or death? Or all three? As the rest of the group realises there is a change coming, the whole stage turns red. The music itself has a film overture scale to it as it breezes through its segments.
Choreography: Goyo Montero
Cause and effect are examined with these sixteen dancers, eight men, eight women, the stage floor becomes a checkboard grid with a violinist (Robert Gibbs) and a guitarist (Tom Ellis) at the two front corners and a pianist (Jonathan Higgins) at the rear.
Watching Chacona unfold before me I couldn’t help think of zoetropes, a cylinder with long thin window which appear to show movement when you spin them but each individual image is slightly different to the one before it and the one after.
My general excitement about being back at the ballet somewhat overwhelmed my concentration as I found myself deep in the music and movement of each of these three pieces.
For anyone wanting to introduce a friend to ballet, this was a perfect evening allowing someone new to explore this type of theatre. Curated by Carlos is at Birmingham Rep until 12th June with limited tickets available: birmingham-rep.co.uk/whats-on/birmingham-royal-ballet-curated-by-carlos.html