Dance review: Scottish Ballet - Up close

'You can see the muscles flexing as the dancers give it all they've got'. Picture: Contributed
'You can see the muscles flexing as the dancers give it all they've got'. Picture: Contributed
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QUITE apart from the entertainment afforded by Scottish Ballet’s regional tour, it’s a clever move on a number of fronts.

Scottish Ballet: Up Close

Tramway, Glasgow

****

Not only is it a chance for audiences residing outside the main touring areas to see a diverse repertoire of quality dance, but it allows those further down the company ranks to get front and centre.

With tour dates in Kirkwall, Stornoway and Stranraer amongst others, playing Glasgow may seem something of an anomaly. But the difference here is the venue – Tramway, rather than Scottish Ballet’s usual home at the Theatre Royal – which shows the dancers off in a whole different light.

When you can see the muscles moving, the skin glistening, there’s nowhere to hide. Both technically and emotionally, the performers have to give their all – and they do.

Clever programming has given Up Close an accessible mix of modern, ever so slightly edgy works by younger choreographers, and a guaranteed crowd-pleaser in the form of Kenneth MacMillan’s Elite Syncopations.

A particular highlight is seeing three vastly different examples of pas de deux side by side. Helen Pickett’s Trace feels like a modern homage to the kind of duets you would find in a traditional classic. Hope Muir’s intense and sensual Broken Ice cranks the passion up a notch. But it is James Cousins’s Jealousy which steals the night.

Perfectly delivered, this intimate portrayal of an obsessive relationship is remarkable in many ways, but most noticeably because in five long minutes, the woman never touches the ground.

Seen on 25.10.14