I have seen many ballets within this rich tapestry called life, a aficionado of dance, not by any means but the thrill that music and movement can instil is unforgettable. I have seen the proud somewhat arrogant Nureyev bring the audience into a frenzy to the graceful elegance of the long limbed Sylvie Guillem but nothing in all these years has moved me so much as Wayne McGregors’s Woolf Works. Plus it was a live screened performance from The Royal Opera House, sitting in a cinema !
A ballet triptych describes three books, which takes you through life from an ageing perspective, looking back at the vibrant memories of 1920’s England in Mrs Dalloway, to the energetic, fast moving dynamism of youth in Orlando, then finally to death with The Waves. By the end I had been through so many emotions, my heart had been pulled this way and that and at times felt it would leap from my chest. I felt expanded, exhilarated, as if my body had filled the auditorium.
I watched mesmerised as the dancers moved with such grace and ease, their limbs, muscles, tendons showing the strength needed to perform such a strenuous ballet, especially in Orlando. So many avenues of thought and feelings erupted
Then came the rhythmic hypnotic swelling of the waves, not only in the music of Max Richter but the dancers and the compelling back drop of raging foaming seas in in slow motion as you watch and hear life ebbing away. Actress Gillian Anderson reads Virginia Woolf’s suicide letter written to her husband before she drowned herself in the River Ouze, the words so moving in themselves.
I have now listened to this so many times since seeing the ballet, downloaded from the trusty itunes. Its stunning, moving , haunting and magnificent and so much more. This week sees the start of my week in Totnes and this mornings playing produces these quick impromptu sketches and I can see this is going to inspire the senses in many ways as the days,weeks and months roll on.