1 February 2013

Tatyana by Companion de Dança Deborah Colker at the Barbican

Tatyana is a dance by Companion de Dança Deborah Colker and I was taken to the Barbican to see it by some friends who share my wish to see more dance.

I do not go to the Barbican Theatre (the smaller of the two performance spaces) often enough to get used to it; in particular the way that there are separate entrances to each row in the circle and the doors to these all close automatically together when the show is about to start.

This is the view that I had from my seat looking across the stalls to the other wing of the circle. There are a further two levels above that but these are places that I have yet to explore.

Tatyana is based on Pushkin's novel Eugene Onegin, which was of no use to me as I have not read the book, seen the opera or the ballet set to the same Tchaikovsky music. Knowing the story may have helped a little to make sense of what followed though I was happy to focus on just the movement and music and not worry too much about what it was meant to be about.

As seems to be the case these days, the dance was in two very different half.

In the first half the stage had what seemed to be a tree on it with branches or roots running to the ground. These could rotate to create different set-ups.

The dancing that accompanied it was energetic and gymnastic with lots of leaping, climbing and swinging. It was all very dramatic and impressive but not actually that pretty. For example, the ladies' limbs had more prominent muscles than usual and they did not flow between poses with the grace that I like to see.

The second half was a different and a better story. The tree was gone and the dancing was on the flat stage. That alone allowed more elegance in to the movements. There were also some slow passages with just one of two dances. The best of these dances came from Deborah Colker herself who in one short scene proved that she was the better of all the dancers in the company.

If the first half was a little disappointing then the second half recovered the situation and the evening was at least satisfactory and at times was quite a lot of fun.

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