Three Ballets: Within the Golden Hour, Medusa and Flight Pattern (Screening)
Filmed in 2019, this mixed programme is a refreshing presentation of contemporary ballet by three leading contemporary choreographers: Christopher Wheeldon, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Crystal Pite. This programme showcases three diverse works performed by the dancers of The Royal Ballet. Get a glimpse of the playfulness of courtship in Wheeldon’s Within the Golden Hour, witness a powerful and sombre exploration of migration and the refugee crisis in Pite’s Flight Pattern and contemplate mythical power through Cherkaoui’s Medusa.
Within the Golden Hour
Within the Golden Hour features seven couples dancing in shifting groups, separating for three distinct and highly-characterised pas de deux—light, sensual and confrontational, returning together for a thrilling ending. The complex and intricate choreography exhibits Wheeldon’s characteristic ensemble work that shifts and mutates, reflecting on the beauty of both individual and collective movement.
Within the Golden Hour was originally created for San Francisco Ballet in 2008 as part of their New Works Festival, which celebrated the company’s 75th anniversary. Italian minimalist composer Ezio Bosso created the original score for strings, incorporating the music of Vivaldi. English designer Jasper Conran, who has designed for the likes of Diana, Princess of Wales and notable ballerinas such as Darcey Bussell, created costumes inspired by the ‘shimmering golden light’ that makes up the elusive golden hour. Within the Golden Hour was first performed by The Royal Ballet in 2016.
This screening features the first performance of Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s Medusa, the choreographer’s first commissioned work for The Royal Ballet. With Natalia Osipova in the title role, Medusa follows the story of Medusa, the priestess who is raped by the sea god Poseidon. The goddess Athena seeks to punish someone for this act but is unable to punish another god, and thus directs her fury at Medusa for an act that was not her fault, turning her into a monster.
Belgian choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui is the artistic director of Royal Ballet of Flanders as well as artistic director of his own company, Eastman, and associate artist at Sadler’s Wells. Cherkaoui’s style is eclectic, drawing on his training in many different styles of dance, from ballet to hip-hop via tap, jazz and flamenco. This new work performed by The Royal Ballet shows the Company embracing new styles and fusions.
Canadian choreographer Crystal Pite has been acclaimed as ‘one of the most talented and intriguing choreographers working today’ (The New York Times). Flight Pattern, created in 2017, is her first work for The Royal Ballet. Critically acclaimed at its premiere, Flight Pattern is a poignant response to one of the biggest humanitarian crises currently faced by society.
This large-scale ensemble work, set to music from Górecki’s Symphony of Sorrowful Songs, takes a powerful and sombre look at the ongoing refugee crisis. Górecki’s music, often associated with the Holocaust, explores themes of motherhood and the separation of families. Pite gives these themes new meaning through this work, moving from the large-scale image of displaced communities to focus on the raw emotions of individuals: the large ensemble cast moves as one body, packed together in tight rows, until one distraught couple is marked out from the crowd through a moving pas de deux.