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 ...