I am no xenophobe. The roster of non-British dancers that dominates the upper echelons of the Royal Ballet causes me no heart-ache whatsoever. However, my choice of Martin Harvey recognises a remarkable phenomenon: the phoenix-like resurgence of the British tradition of great dance actors, which he currently spearheads. The clarion call sounded this season when he performed the title role in Cranko’s “Onegin” and the tragic Crown Prince Rudolf in Kenneth MacMillan’s “Mayerling.
His Onegin is in a class of its own because he captures the character’s complexities and contradictions without exaggeration in a role that is notoriously difficult to cast. His Rudolf,
likewise, eschews overheated playing and presents a believable, fallible man, not the house-trained psychopath we sometimes see. Harvey is not a ham actor. He leaves the eye-rolling and silent movie excesses to others. A strong partner, with a handsome face and powerful physique, he never appears to waste energy beyond the intrinsic needs of the choreography and has a supremely confident stage presence. His leading roles have included Mercutio, Colas and Lescaut; the demi-caractère terrain of Ashton and MacMillan, the ...