REVIEW: Highlight of the dance year!

Crystal Costa in Aszure Barton's Fantastic Beings

Crystal Costa in Aszure Barton’s Fantastic Beings

“Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, and the third time – in this case – it is definitely a thing with female Canadian choreographers. Crystal Pite and Emily Molnar are top-quality acts, and so, it seems, is their compatriot Aszure Barton, choreographer of the evening’s opening piece, Fantastic Beings (2016). Set to a symphonic score by Mason Bates, it’s an abstract piece that flirts with creatureliness without pinning anything down – are those hairy things apes or bears (or wookiees)? Are the lycra-clad dancers more like birds or lizards or gazelles? Whatever; they’re beautiful and so is the backdrop of twinkling stars. Bates’s score is long and Barton’s material feels stretched in places; at each of the (many) ending-type climaxes I thought it was a suitable time to stop. But credit for the striking sections, too: I won’t forget the image of two female dancers wheeling and diving like birds over fluttery clarinet noise, or the power of the last movement with all the dancers spinning in uncanny hair suits. (Pictured above: Crystal Costa in Fantastic Beings)

ENB’s spring triple bill at Sadler’s Wells has become a highlight of the dance year.” –