BWW Review: SCOTTISH BALLET Is Headed for a Bright New Future
Having been a fan of Scottish Ballet on previous trips to Scotland, seeing them last about eight years ago, I was curious to know how the company had evolved. Then it seemed to be a company in search of itself, some Balanchine, some Massine, some original works. Nothing memorable; on the other hand, nothing glaringly bad. Excellent dancers badly rehearsed, no artistic guidance, or so it seemed. Basically, a company on the verge-of something.
From what I can see and read, Christopher Hampson, the Artistic Director/Executive Director, has done a complete overhaul. Now reduced to 10 dancers, focusing on the modern, eschewing any old traditions while forgoing its own, and going on tours to represent its new image to an audience unaware of its past-and really not caring-the company made its Joyce debut on April 11, 2017, to a largely welcoming audience. If the three works presented were of uneven quality or merit, they all exhibited some keen observations about modern ballet and its continuing transformation into a dance form that everyone says is diminishing, but quite the contrary.
Christopher Hampson's Sinfonietta Giacoso, to music of Bohuslav Martinu, was an interesting, if not successful piece, which exploited all the dancers abilities. In fact, I don't think that there was any technical ability that was left unturned. While pleasant to watch, it soon began to unreel quickly. It is not because Mr. Hampson is untalented; quite the contrary he is. But here was an example of dance where the choreographer has clearly not decided what he wants to accomplish. Dancing for the sake of dancing is fine, but dancing with only steps and nothing else behind them is another story. There were times when it seemed as if the dance would make a statement, give voice to its choreographer's intentions, but that failed to materialize.
I would like to see more of Mr. Hampson's work in the future, as this one example leaves me wanting more. That's the sign of a good choreographer.
Bryan Arias' Motion of Displacement, according to a program note, "explores the causes and effects of storytelling, inspired by Arias' own childhood memories of his mother's journey from her native land in pursuit of love."