Saturday, 14 April 2012

Ballet Toes

I am beginning to suspect that taste may be an important part of the critic's armoury. Between interviews on the Radio Hour, Howie Reeve, sometime of Tattie Toes and the inimitable curator of Frost and Fire, commented that I always seemed to be enthusiastic about my guests. I didn't dare tell him that I was still surprised when anyone agreed to come on the show - let alone some of the bigger names I have had in the past year - but I admitted that, most of the time, I am genuinely excited by the artists I lure onto Subcity.

It was my insistence on naming the show after myself that freed me to concentrate on the music and art that is gradually devouring my entire life: although I love working freelance for other organisations, the purpose of the VileArts is to explore the culture that enthrals me. Luckily, Glasgow has enough going on to make sure that I never have to spend an evening in my cold, dank flat.

This does have a down side. My progress on Avengers Alliance is slow.

However, for two hours on a Friday afternoon, I get to feel like the hub of Glasgow's culture. I even went on air early, to play back the entire interview I had done with Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, choreographer of Scottish Ballet's A Streetcar Named Desire. Having seen the show on Thursday night, I wanted to listen to her thoughts on the process.

Streetcar is an interesting move for the company. With artistic director Ashley page set to leave - and no presence at the International Festival in August - Streetcar could be read as a statement about the company's current situation. It certainly fits in with Page's own approach - after all, he invited Ochoa - using the dancers' contemporary bent to update the classical ballet template. Yet it had echoes of earlier Scottish Ballet trends (ones which made them a rather minor company): a recognisable, narrative ballet, with emphasis on technical excellence. Fortunately, unlike the last time they tried this tact, before Page's tenure, they actually have dancers capable of impressing.

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