Featuring the world premieres of four new pieces, Hail Britannia is a wonderful modern ballet dance extravaganza that explores the unique, historic and quirky aspects of British culture. Performed by the MurleyDance Company, this is a refreshing, modern production which my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed.
I have always loved the ballet but my experience of it is much more traditional. The Nutcracker Suite, Sleeping Beauty and Romeo and Juliet have all figured amongst my favourite live performances. For me, Hail Britannia was an interesting new take on modern ballet. Each of the four pieces was unique in its own way and all were a great pleasure to watch.
The colourful first piece, ‘Shaadi’, explores the controversial topic of arranged marriages, vividly contrasting the Eastern and Western traditions that have shaped many cross-cultural wedding celebrations. The choreographer, Anaish Parmar, very aptly describes Shaadi as ‘a vibrant Bollywood romp in preparation for the big day’. With energetic dancing and modern music this is ballet as I have never seen it before and I loved it.
‘Wayward Kinship’ is a look at the conflict between religion and the monarchy and explores the relationship between King Henry II and Thomas Becket. Darker subject matter and complicated, technical choreography make this a much more serious and demanding piece. The choreographer, Richard Chappell, is just 19 years old. I am certain he has a very promising career ahead of him.
‘Frisky Claptrap’ was choreographed by the company’s Artistic Director David Murley and is a fresh, funny, original take on British humour. I thoroughly enjoyed this energetic, witty performance.
The final piece, ‘The Highgrove Suite’, was Commissioned by HRH The Prince of Wales to celebrate the gardens at his home Highgrove House in Gloucestershire and explores the nature of innocence, death, love and romance. David Murley choreographed this beautiful, classical ballet and Patrick Hawes composed the wonderful score. Evocative, moving and lovely, The Highgrove Suite was the highlight of the evening for me.
The members of the MurleyDance Company have a wonderful energy and joie de vivre that shines through their performances in Hail Britannia. A thoroughly enjoyable show, I highly recommend this refreshingly different celebration of British culture to lovers of traditional ballet and modern dance alike. For more information about Hail Britannia as well as performance dates and locations, please click here.
Disclosure: I was provided with Press tickets for a London performance of Hail Britannia. My opinions are, as always, honest and my own.