In the big classical ballets of the 19th century the ballerina dominated and the male dancer played a supporting role. In Men in Motion, Ivan Putrov, in his new role of producer, has deliberately set out to devise mixed bills which concentrate only on the virtuosity and potency of the male dancer in the 20th century and onwards. The dancers are international.
Putrov, wanting his programme to have an historical context, has included such classics as L’Apres-Midi d’un Faune, Petrushka and Le Spectre de la Rose; but these work least well. All three, if they are to have any emotional impact, need to be given a full production. An excerpt from Petrushka without scenery is meaningless.
The high spots are with the modern works. Vadim Muntagirov’s refined energy and Bach’s dynamism in Alexey Miroshnichenko’s Adiago make for a potent combination. So do Marian Walter’s muscular Christianity and Mozart’s requiem mass in Guala Pandi’s Lacrimosa.
Similarly, Marco Goecke’s frenetic Affi, performed to three emotional songs by Johnny Cash, and focusing on fluttering hands and flaying arms, is a dazzling showcase for Marijn Rademaker.
Zuchetti’s witty danseur noble, in Leonid Jacobson’s Vestris, mimes and dances a variety of roles and styles in an 18th century aristocratic high camp manner. Daniel Proetto’s gyrating disco urchin in Alan Lucien Oyen’s Sinnerman, is dressed in a shiny, silver sequined cat- suit and is much more down-market in his appeal.
Meanwhile, the tentative eroticism in Javier de Frutos’s 3 With D is tenderly portrayed by Edward Watson and Marijn Rademaker. The music – Gershwin’s The Man I Love and Cole Porter’s Down in the Depth – serves them well.
In Russell Malliphant’s Two X Two, the evening’s final item, Daniel Proietto and Ivan Putrov, in two pools of light, mirror each other’s movements. Partially lit, it is the shadows and the lighting, and especially the flickering light on their bodies, which makes it visually so compelling.