Friday, June 10, 2005


June saw the start of the IgorFest in Birmingham. The CBSO, Birmingham Royal Ballet (BRB) and others are going to perform the complete works of Stravinsky over the next three years! My little participation, along with Susan and Sarah, started with a visit to the newly renovated Hippodrome to see the BRB perform four short pieces. The Dumbarton Oaks took a contemporary start, the dancers had their arms curved back behind their heads like antennae. Indeed the music is supposed to invoke the flutting of moths around a light. The four movements were totally captivating, lots of angular movements and a finalae of all the dancers 'dying' in a pool of light and a flash of fire. The backing cloth was beautiful - a giant wallpaper print reminiscent of William Morris. For the second piece, Duo Concertant, a violinist and pianist came on to the stage and a pair of dancers watched them and then seemed to improvise repetitive movements to go with the music. After a short interval, where I met up with a friend from University, Vicky - quite by accident, isn't the world a small place! - we were treated to a more traditional imterpretation of Scènes de ballet, complete with pattering points. I was particularly found in this piece of the 'be-tututued' group of ballerinas who moved almost like waves, as the lead ballerina swooped between them. Lastly, after another interval, we watched the Nijinsky's interpretation of the Rite of Spring, only the second time it had been performed in this country (the first was on Wednesday night)! The dancers were all wearing loose fitting tunics, in a sort of native American style, though also sort of Vikingesque too. It was set in an open field with a backdrop of hills, and as the ballet progressed I wondered if they had any plans to do it outside as it would be magnificent. There was much slapping of the stage and dragging of feet on the floor cloth to create sounds to feed into the orchestral music (which was brilliant throughout!). The sacrificial victim at the end finally died on stage and was lifted high by 6 bear skin wearing men! The performance was magnificent and all of us came out saying what a wonderful evening we had had, which had started with Steak frites and red wine at Michelle's La Bastille!

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