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REVIEW: BA Modern Ballet Annual Performance 2024, RCS, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Updated: May 26

BA Modern Ballet Annual Performance 2024, RCS, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Photo credit: Jacob Martin Walls

BA Modern Ballet Annual Performance 2024

Artistic Director: Kerry Livingstone


16 May 2024

New Athenaeum Theatre

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow



The annual showcase from the ballet school at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland allows all three year groups from the BA Ballet programme to demonstrate their skills to the public. Not only are we treated to a night of gorgeous dance, but to world-class music from the wonderful RCS orchestra, and to innovative staging from the BA Production Technology and Management, and Production Arts and Design students.


This year, three guest choreographers displayed their works alongside resident and student choreographers. The end result was a varied programme of dance that took us from a German castle to the streets of New York, and included variations on classical, contemporary and jazz. The ten dance numbers could not have been more different from each other in style, tone and presentation. It's a remarkable achievement in a single showcase.


BA Modern Ballet Annual Performance 2024, RCS, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Photo credit: Jacob Martin Walls

For the work 'Haunted' the dancers appeared to be moving through a heavy rain storm lit by occasional burst of lightning. I could almost feel the wind as the rain intensified on the invisible gauze at the front of the darkened stage. Lighting is deftly used throughout the show and in some scenes, such as this, the dancers are barely lit. This is a bold choice but is judged perfectly and adds to the magical atmosphere.


In 'Excerpt from Serenade' by Tchaikovsky, the graduating third year students appeared in traditional white ballet dresses, immaculately presented with not a hair nor pointe shoe out of place. Even their glittering earrings matched perfectly. I do delight in this extreme attention to detail.


This perfection was immediately juxtaposed in 'Awakening the Forge' as the first years appeared with loose hair and jeans against a background of warm reds and oranges. Beautifully lit with no other props, the heat radiated from the stage as the dancers twirled.


One of my favourite numbers of the evening was performed by the second year class to Tom Wait's 'Temptation' and 'Hang on St. Christopher'. The thumping rock and blues rhythm was the perfect sultry soundtrack for these incredible dancers to show off their versatility.


It's really lovely to see so many terrific men coming through in both year one and year two also.


BA Modern Ballet Annual Performance 2024, RCS, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Photo credit: Jacob Martin Walls

As well as the spectacular dancing and staging, one thing that keeps me coming back to the RCS annual showcase year after year is the varied music. I always leave with a new song or artist to look-up when I get home. This year was no different.


From the second the deep, electronic, futuristic bars of Peter Gregson's 'Landing' filled the auditorium I was rapt. The award winning cellist and composer from Scotland has thus far passed me by, and that is probably sacrilegious to say at the conservatoire. I'm no musician, and I can't even begin to describe just how haunting and beautiful this piece is. I just know that I loved it. (Thank you RCS - I'm deep into Gregson's back catalogue now!)


Gregson's Landing was the perfect piece for the graduating third year students to close the show with and to demonstrate just how astonishingly talented they all are. I wish them all the very best of luck with their careers.


The RCS modern ballet annual showcase continues to be the crème de la crème of year end dance displays. It's simply exquisite from beginning to end.


 

📸 Production photos: Jacob Martin Walls



 

BA Modern Ballet Annual Performance 2024, RCS, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, review.



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🎟️ Disclosure: I was invited to review this show and received a complimentary ticket in exchange. Neither the venue nor show has a say in what I write. I'm completely independent and invites have no impact on my analysis or star ratings.



Lisa in the Theatre, Scottish Theatre, UK theatre blogger, reviewer, critic

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