Martin Harvey

It’s a tradition but, alas, not a trend: the British dance-actor and Royal Ballet First Soloist puts an emphasis on theatricality rather than Olympic execution of technique. It’s his commitment to dramatic coherence which makes him stand out.

The Royal Ballet usually dominates the annual Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards in London each year. In January 2008, however, only two men from this great company were nominated: Ivan Putrov, the Ukrainian Principal Dancer, and Martin Harvey, First Soloist. This was a study in contrasts. The two dancers could not be more different:
Putrov is a slim, elegant danseur noble, a touching Pierrot Lunaire, an obvious candidate for nomination, and Harvey is a robust demi-caractère performer.

The Harvey nomination is interesting because he bucks the trend of what many current artistic directors look for in a dancer but what many critics seek to find.

In my lifetime I have seen a transformation of public taste from admiring intelligent theatrical cogency to the deification of technical feats. I groan inwardly every time a dancer twitters to the footlights to take her applause after 32 fouettés, or when a dancer of either sex proudly demonstrates their facility for raising their extended leg skywards in a Romantic ballet, regardless of the original choreography, taste, common sense or sound judgement.

This kind of dancing is vapid, un-theatrical and stinks of circus. Read Fokine’s “Memoirs ...

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Tanz Juni 2008
Rubrik: Portrait, Seite 50
von Mike Dixon

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