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Terra Incognita

(reviewed at the Abbey Hall Creative Space, Eye on 28 July)

Games of life and games of love have at least three things in commons – they have winners, they have losers and they present an unknown territory in which to conquer or perish. Rosamund Small ambiguous scenario for Robert Binet’s new ballet makes uncertainty as much the theme as resolution.

Abbey Hall Creative Space is a fine addition to Suffolk’s often idiosyncratic mix of theatres and arts centres, many of which have taken over redundant buildings originally erected for completely different purposes. It’s oblong and on two levels with a pleasant outside space on either side.

Binet’s Wild Space initiative, which he describes as open-source ballet, uses the venue to its full advantage. There are five dancers – Ida Praetorius and Andreas Kaas from the Royal Danish Ballet, Emma Hawes from the National Ballet of Canada, Yawmine Naghdi of the Royal Ballet and Martin ten Kortenaar from the Dutch National Ballet.

Two violinists, Clio Gould and Jonathan Morton, accompany much of the action from the upper level, which is where the audience begins its viewing. Natural as well as stage lighting complements the choreography, which is firmly based in the classical tradition with the girls en pointe and the boys partnering for lifts which bring the idiom firmly up to date.

Like the action, the story takes us to several levels of love, friendship, enmity, forgiveness and acceptance. As daylight fades, we follow the dancers utside where the story of displacement ends bare-footed on grass. Binet’s whirling swirling choreography demands much of his performers, who are all technically accomplished, but the result has a magic of its own.

Next year Wild Space will develop and reinterpret Terra Incognita in Amsterdam, Copenhagen, London and Toronto. it should be an interesting process to follow, especially with the mooted collaboration with digital platform Artery. This will involve creative spces as well as artists and performers globally.

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Filed under Ballet & dance, Reviews 2016