Scottish Ballet Spring Season
- Kelly Apter
- 2 April 2009
With the news that Scottish Ballet is returning to the Edinburgh International Festival this year, and its new home at Tramway nearing completion, the company has never been in finer fettle. When he first arrived at Scottish Ballet, artistic director Ashley Page was charged with commissioning interesting new works from other choreographers – as well as using his own dynamic ballet to move the company forward. And the company’s spring season certainly ticks both of those boxes.
Page’s Cheating, Lying, Stealing was originally created for the Royal Ballet back in 1998, and was taken on by Scottish Ballet in 2003 during Page’s inaugural tour with the company. It worked well, being filled with sexual energy, deceit and a high octane score. Now that Page’s dancers are even more technically assured than before, we can only assume the piece will look stronger still.
Audience anticipation, however, is largely reserved for Richard Alston’s brand new Carmen. Despite having immersed himself in contemporary choreography for the past 40 years, Alston has created a thoroughly classical rendition of the Spanish favourite. Equally radical, he has cast three dancers from the lower orders in the lead roles. As a Scottish Ballet Artist, Daniel Davidson is three ranks below Principal – yet Alston chose him to play the dashing corporal, Don José.
‘It’s unusual for somebody in the corps de ballet to get such an amazing opportunity,’ says Davidson. ‘And I was a little bit intimidated at first because I’ve never danced the lead before.’ That all changed as soon as he got into the studio with Alston. Along with Martina Forioso, who plays Carmen and William Smith as Escamillo the toreador (both of whom are Coryphée, two ranks below Principal) Davidson soon understood why Alston cast them all.
‘Richard’s interpretation of Don José is that he’s a young soldier who’s quite a lad about town, a cheeky chappy who everyone likes,’ explains Davidson. ‘And he cast us because he sees something in us that he wants for these roles. Richard is such a lovely man, that whatever we bring to the table during rehearsals he’s interested in and appreciates.’
Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Wed 15–Sat 18 Apr; Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Wed 22–Sat 25 Apr