A review by Pauline Flannery for EXTRA! EXTRA!


The London Ballet Company presents


Citius, Altius, Fortius


Director Sophie Wright

Choreographed by the Company


King's Head Theatre


2- 23 June 2011


This week saw some peoples’ Olympic ticketing dreams come true while for others bank balances bounced, and bounced, and bounced. Fitting therefore that at the King’s Head, Islington, for a fraction of the price, you can see blue ribbon events, the progress of the Olympic torch, and have access to athletes close up and personal.
The London Ballet Company, made up of eight dancers, offers up a dance cocktail containing more than a dash of HP British sauce in Citius, Altius, Fortius (faster, higher, stronger). The Olympic motto serves as a neat reference for the programme, featuring thirteen divertissements, and the dancers themselves. The company’s aim is ‘to admire the athlete in the grace of our dancers.’ And in this it succeeds.

Set in two halves, the programme progresses from ‘Ab Initio’ (in the beginning) in ancient Greece with statues and Zorba the Greek. A clever inversion of the mime motif for dance from classical ballet, hands rolling over each other in an ascendant movement, recurs throughout the programme, firmly linking dance and athleticism together. To ‘Carpe Diem’ (seize the day) in which Apollo, dressed in yellow, surrounded by his acolytes in shades suggestive of sun, show the progress of the Olympic flame in a joyous espirit de Coeur, through to the crisp, witty ‘Amor Patriae’ (love of one’s country) with its sleight of hand nod to other dance-styles, such as Bollywood and Flamenco.

The choreography, devised by the company, is suggestive of Isadora Duncan’s ‘Eurythmics’, with strong arm patterns and interlocking body-shapes based on Greek statuary and vase paintings, and in the high air-born jetes - fleet, darting, diagonal patterns across the floor, firmly rooted in the contemporary style.

This gives the company a broad canvas on which to contrast style, mood and tone, exemplified in the artistry and delicacy of Saint Saens’ ‘The Swan’ in ‘LunctaIuvant’ (together they strive), with ‘Non Nobis Solum’ (not for ourselves alone) danced to the William Tell Overture. To the witty, self-deprecating media focus of ‘Imprimatur’ (let it be published) and ‘Ad Honorem’ (for honour), which features a dancer as a camera, or an ego-driven competitor interviewed by an equally ego-driven interviewer.

The dancers are disciplined, with a strong technique confidently displaying their classical and contemporary background. Trust in each other is paramount, particularly in negotiating the snug space of the King’s Head. They do this with a breath-taking fearlessness. The strength and conviction of Ayumi Nagasawa and Francesco Mangiacasale was solid throughout; the willowy Jo Elisabeth Davie excelled in her extensions, particularly in ‘LunctaIuvant’, while the fluid, compact dancing of Rosanna Nevard was first class. 

‘GaudeamusIgitur’(let us rejoice) or last night of the proms to you and me, carries all our British aspirations in the rousing chorus of ‘Land of Hope and Glory’. Here the dance motif melds into an archer-like pull, uniting both classical and athletic allusions for the final time. With recognisable music from Vivaldi, Rachmaninov, Saint Saens, including the National Anthem, the British weather makes a timely, ironic appearance as umbrellas go up and the Olympic rings come on. Citius, Altius, Fortiusis is a must for dance fans and a seasonal reminder, if we needed one, that yes, ‘the countdown has begun…..the London Olympics draw nearer’...



2, 9, 16, & 23 June 2011

7.15 PM

Tickets 17.50-£22.50/£15 concessions

King's Head Theatre
115 Upper Street
Islington N1 1QN

Box Office 0207 478 0160


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