IF there is a more perfect setting than the 17th century Dutch walled garden of Hatch House near Tisbury, for an evening of spectacular classical and contemporary dance and delicious food, it is difficult to imagine.
Each year, Matt Brady’s Covent Garden Dance Company seems to bring more exciting dancers, each year the commissions, from the young choreographers helped by Matt’s Dickie Buckle Fund, get more thought-provoking, moving, engaging and exhilarating. You would think you can’t go on saying, This is the best yet. But you do.
And so – the 2018 Ballet at Hatch weekend was the best yet, with some thrilling dance and compelling new works, and the new caterers, Nobles of Tisbury, served a memorable dinner which was perfectly designed for the glorious weather.
Too many superlatives? No. You can’t over-praise this year’s show. It was utterly lovely from the welcome champagne, but there were also interesting cocktails using Dorset’s excellent Lilliput Gin, and the trio of young dancers were appropriately surly and sexy as the Punkerinas.
There was exciting news, just days before the first night, that Lauren Cuthbertson, would be coming to dance two works by Christopher Wheeldon, with Matthew Golding. But splendid, subtle and sensuous though she is, handsome, athletic and strong as Golding is – and brilliant though Wheeldon’s After The Rain and Within the Golden Hour both are – they did not eclipse the other stars of the night, led by Hatch favourite, Mara Galeazzi.
For many the highlight will have been the final work, the White Pas de Deux from Marguerite and Armand, danced to Ashton’s choreography, by Vito Mazzeo and Mara Galeazzi wearing Cecile Van Dijk’s recreation of Cecil Beaton’s original design for Dame Martot Fonteyn.
A feather-light confection of white net with a satin ribbon lattice, the dress, worn by a dancer whose feet seem barely to touch the ground, almost flew across the stage. It was an exquisite conclusion to a night of brilliant dancing.
Other highlights, particularly among the new commissions, were the opening Luminance, choreographed by the fast-improving Vitali Safronkine, who danced the piece with Iker Murilla and Maria Munoz Sabater, the achingly beautiful Requiem, danced by Galeazzi to Kenneth MacMillan’s choreography, 361° choreographed and danced by Ksenia Ovsyanick, Forever, choreographed to music by Queen by Safronkine dancing with Murilla, and the astonishing Siren, choreographed by Daniel Davidson, a work of feline power and sexuality, danced by Rambert principal Brenda Lee Grech.