Choreographer: Kenneth Tindall
Music: Kerry Muzzey
Reviewer: Tate James
The name Casanova is synonymous with the ultimate lover in modern parlance but far lesser known are the details of his story.
Giacomo Casanova’s mind is constantly distracted from his training as a priest, by desires both intellectual and sexual. Seduced by convent girls and dismissed from the church with only a violin and a book, Casanova travels through Venice and an assortment of encounters full of passion and curiosity; from Senators to cellists, the mistress of King Louis XV to the mistress of a Cardinal, and with men and woman alike at many parties throughout the city. But his escape to pleasure cannot hide the despondency and depression he feels, until he documents his memories in his book ‘History of My Life’.
In Kenneth Tindall’s glorious adaptation, no attempt is made to shy away from the raw sexuality of Casanova’s tale. Imaginative and provocative, Tindall has removed the rules and the boundaries of traditional ballet and replaced them with a whole new dance vocabulary. Swirling sequences of feminine sensuality paired with masculine athleticism from the fiercely attractive ensemble make for an arousing evening of excitement.
In the title role, Giuliano Contadini is enigmatic perfection, as he seduces male and female alike, balancing Casanova’s innate magnetism with his passionate temper, all the while with perfect physique on display as he dons an array of low-cut costumes While schmoozing his way through the Venetian population. A stunningly beautiful pas de deux with the effortless Dreda Blow as Bellino, a woman masquerading as a castrato, is the highlight of the evening; simplistic pedestrian sequences merge seamlessly into angular lifts and intricately flowing phrases.
Set to the tone of Kerry Muzzey’s powerful score, blending classical and contemporary orchestrations, the impressive and evocative set and costume design from Christopher Oram provide us with all the grandiose of the 18th Century, and the traditional ballet buns of old have been replaced with magnificent wigs from Richard Mawbey, a treat rarely seen on members of a corps de ballet.
The Northern Ballet have succeeded and surpassed expectations, setting new standards of storytelling through the classical dance genre; and, however unlikely it may sound, have somehow managed to remove the prim and make ballet sexy. This is a display worthy of the world’s greatest lover!
Runs Until 6 May 2017 | Image: Guy Farrow