Another great little insight into the big, complex structure that is the Royal Opera House…

Emma Southworth, Studio Programme Senior Producer of the Royal Ballet hosted a very interesting 90 minutes packed with dance and brimming with inspiration. Choreographers Robert Binet, Jamaal Burkmar, Kloe Dean and Charlotte Edmonds were sitting alongside Emma and three of them presented some of their work. Without too much ado and talking the rehearsals started.

Robert Binet was the first up; going through the motions of his upcoming premiere. His dancers, Romany Pajdak and Giacomo Rovera, had been rehearsing in the morning for Binet’s new piece. It seemed a little surreal that they were just able to pick it up where they left of with a whole audience around them. Yet, it was fascinating to watch how Robert was working on the little details and just changing around the tinest of nuance and the whole sequence seemed so much different. Also, it is so rare to sit so close to the dancers – even if you are seated in the stalls you usually have the orchestra pit between you and the dancers. With both literally in front of you it really showed the physical strain that goes into making everything look so effortless! Giacomo is still quite young himself and it was remarkable to see him lifting his fellow dancer with such ease. Even though it was “just” a rehearsal nothing was done with half measures. In the end there was one final run through with the music and it was truly mesmerising to see how that little sequence had evolved over those 15 minutes of rehearsing.

Kloe Dean was up next and with her ballet was left behind and Hip Hop got introduced.She founded her own company, Myself UK Dance Company. It was great to hear her motivation behind it doing her own thing. She was fed up with the stigma attached to female Hip Hop dancers and decided to change that. Her dancers, Jazmyn Alicia Raikes and Nicole McDowall were really an inspiration! The same idea here as well – they were working on a sequence previously and were revisiting it. Kloe also brought up the challenges of Hip Hop dance – whilst a classical choreographer can sit down and use specific terms and the dancers know what to do Kloe spends a lot of her time actually explaining and showing what she wants as there is no dance language for Hip Hop. Fascinating to see something so unique develop right in front of your eyes!

The third choreographer was Jamaal Burkmar whose subject is contemporary dance. Robyn Byrne and Lucia Chocarro, his dancers, were working on a scene that usually involves a few more dancers but it got scaled down a little. For me contemporary dance is something I haven’t quite warmed up to as it does seem a little uncontrolled but to actually see the piece come to life was an eyeopener! Putting together something contemporary takes just as much effort as doing classical ballet.

The evening was finished off with a Question and Answer session and it was great to hear the choreographers speak about various aspects of their day to day work – including that, in particular, classical ballet choreography, is not something that you can really learn….

This really was a fascinating insight that one doesn’t come across on a regular basis!

 

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