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Melody On The Move

First Published 17 April 2008, Last Updated 21 April 2008

Melody On The Move encompasses a trio of very distinct works by choreographers Christopher Hampson, David Dawson and Michael Corder, performed at Sadler’s Wells by the English National Ballet in their brief visit to the venue this March (a visit which also includes the company’s production of Will Tuckett’s family ballet The Canterville Ghost this weekend). Caroline Bishop attended the melodic first night…

The programme starts with Hampson’s Sinfonietta Giocosa, set to music by Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu. Though beginning with the corps de ballet lined up in two rows like the start of an 18th century formal dance, the piece has a distinctly modern feel, with the dancers cleanly silhouetted in their black costumes against a plain background lit in colours which change from blue to pink to red. At first a group dance, the style is all about the interplay between man and woman, and this continues into a trio and duet. The trio in particular is an interlocking dance between two men and one woman, who move about the stage in an intricate display, always connected to each other.

Dawson’s A Million Kisses To My Skin is entirely different in style, choreographed to Bach’s Piano Concerto No 1 In D Minor. A programme note says that Dawson created this ballet to evoke the feeling of complete bliss a dancer feels on stage, and that it is both classical in steps but individual and contemporary. In the piece, dancers in white and soft blue attire jump and swoop each other about the stage in a ballet evoking romance and passion. The highlight is a pair dance in which Agnes Oaks and Thomas Edur’s pas de deux commands the stage. The sinewy, long-limbed form of Oaks is graceful, elegant, and full of passion.

Melody On The Move, the final piece which gives its name to the programme as a whole, is again completely contrasting in style. Almost a West End musical, Corder’s piece is a homage to British light music of the 1930s, 40s and 50s, and shows off the dancers’ acting, as well as dancing, skills. Framed by Mark Bailey’s period-inspired set, the ballet is a series of eight individual dancers, starting with the glamorous orange-hued chorus line of Montmartre, leading on the ingenious dance of the tutu-clad housewifes, the businessmen’s joyful duet and a dance set in a 40s typing pool – involving some comically choreographed typing. Once again, Oaks and Edur claim the prize for beauty with their elegant dancing in a pas de deux entitled The Girl From Corsica.

Melody On The Move plays today at 14:30 & 19:30. The Canterville Ghost plays Friday at 19:30 and Saturday at 14:30 and 19:30.

To buy tickets for Melody On The Move contact the theatre. em>CB

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