Wednesday, 1 October 2014

THE GREAT GATSBY by Northern Ballet
Nottingham Theatre Royal

Set in  the decadent 1920's, Northern Ballet bring the book written by F Scott Fitzgerald to the Nottingham Theatre Royal stage.

Now I know that just the mention of the word "ballet" will be enough to spin images of men in tights, codpieces and fluffy pink tutus, the women by the way not the men in tutus! But ballet today is a completely different art form and Northern Ballet blend jazz, contemporary, blues,classical and even The Charleston into the musical mix.

The costumes do not have a male pair of tights in sight and dancers wear the classic 20's style costumes, at times bordering on Hollywood glamour,and you can tell that so many of the big Hollywood dance numbers borrowed heavily from ballet, or is that the other way round, the lines here are definitely blurred. There are some wonderful period dances, snappy and full of staccato in the Charleston, and complemented by the wonderful sets, the staging recreates the style of the era.

The music and the dance is sexy, stylish, romantic, comic, entertaining and most of all acts as the narrator of the entire piece, and through the power of dance tell the story from start to its' tragic finish, and who needs words when you can translate story through dance so vividly.

For fans of "Strictly" you can really see what the judges mean when they talk about "extended lines", "upper body positioning and strength","pointing" etc because these dancers show all of this and so much more. They are athletes of dance and own immense core body strength. You can only admire their stamina and control, the delicate way they move into and out of hold, and the trust the female dancers place in their male counterparts as they are spun and tossed in the air like a delicate silk hanky.

Ballet can transport you to a completely different world, can calm and soothe you but can also evoke other emotions as the story unfolds to show violence and physical cruelty. There is something just a little special about going to the ballet because it is now no longer seen as something that the upper classes go to see in their finery and glasses on a stick. Ballet is for everyone and by the looks of the audience, this is confirmed.

The first half of the ballet was, in my opinion, better than the second but that is because the first half held more variety and mood. The second half was more traditional ballet based but was good to show both the fun side and the traditional.

A beautiful sound from the live orchestra seductive and sumptuous sets and some imaginative lighting complete an exciting night of dance with a classic story to boot, or should that be ballet pump?

"The Great Gatsby" is on at the Nottingham Theatre Royal until Saturday 4 October 2014

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