Over the past year, a country of just 1.3 million people celebrated 100 years of independence with a remarkable worldwide celebration. Five hundred cultural events took place in 33 countries, proving that Estonia knows how to punch above its weight. The same could be said for its national ballet company – operating with a quarter of the budget of its nearest counterpart yet delivering an output any classical company would be proud of.
Estonian National Ballet, Tramway, Glasgow ****
Artistic director Thomas Edur (a former star at English National Ballet before returning to his native Estonia) would have ideally liked his company’s Scottish debut to feature a large production with many dancers. Necessity is the mother of invention, however, and if finances dictated that we were gifted this diverse, smartly costumed triple-bill instead, then that’s all to the good.
All three works gave the dancers ample opportunity to share their skill, considerable both in terms of physical acumen and audience connection. Edur’s own Silent Monologues was first performed in St Paul’s Cathedral and you can well imagine this beautiful and poignant series of pas de deux in such a setting. In Time, Tiit Helimets’ choreography produced stunningly clean lines and technical precision.
Then Eve Mutso’s Echo brought all the ingredients together, with the bodies, minds, hearts and souls of eight dancers laid bare before us. A former dancer with Scottish Ballet, Mutso’s cerebral yet highly physical piece fused aerial finesse, powerful emotions and clever, unexpected movement, heralding her arrival as a choreographic force to be reckoned with. - Kelly Apter