Scottish Ballet. Edinburgh International Festival, August 2006.

Scottish Ballet were beautiful. They performed a mixed bill of modern dance pieces at the Edinburgh Playhouse on Saturday, although modern is a flexible term: the first piece, Agon by George Balanchine, was nearly fifty years old. There was no set – just deep blue light flooding across the plain backdrop – the dancers in complex groups and en masse looked excellent.

I didn’t like the music to Agon, though – it was some Stravinsky pieces which I didn’t recognise, rather jarring.

The second piece was stunningly beautiful. A duet to Debussy’s “Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune”, Afternoon Of A Faun was a gentle piece which used a set of ballet rehearsal room in perspective. The two dancers – Vassilissa Levtonova, and Paul Liburd – were excellent, the music was lovely and the whole worked superbly. This was followed by another duet, Two Pieces For Het, with music by Arvo Pärt and Erkki-Sven Tüür.

The evening finished with a long, full ensemble piece, In Light And Shadow. Set to several pieces by Bach, this was energetic and exciting dance. The dancers wore unisex costumes – some of the men in skirts, some of the women in trousers – and danced singly, in duet, in groups and en masse. It looked excellent, the dancers moving with elegance and fluidity.

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