Interpreting Love by Black Ballet

I’m very excited about a new dance venue find that I did in London – Linbury Studio Theatre. A bare, industrial site which is found in the basement of the grand Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. With space for only 400 spectators it offers a very intimate viewing experience and a chance to get seats very close to the stage in order to witness the magnificent strength and skill of performers. Being also a venue for experimental, less safe-bet options, it is an arts centre to look out for when wishing to enjoy cultural experiences with less. Most performances range between £10-£25 so finances should not get in the way of enjoying a great show.

The first show that I saw in the Linbury Studio Theatre this Thursday evening was Black Ballet. Black Ballet is a ballet company set up by Cassa Pancho, a classically trained dancer, now the artistic director and founder of Black Ballet. She wanted to create opportunities for black and Asian dancers in classical ballet and the company has been running now for 12 years, gaining success in the UK and internationally and recently receiving awards for its innovation.

Linbury Studio Theatre was a perfect setting for Black Ballet. The stage without staging created with dim lighting and smoky haziness a mystical background for the dancers. The first part of the show was unscripted offering three performances which were only loosely linked together with the theme of interpreting love. First an athletic interpretation by two equal partners, the second a dreamy, romantic dance conveying a perfect sense of harmony. Then a Hawaiian song started and four dancers created a vibrant and carefree expression of love.

I found the second part the most impressing. Christopher Marney had choreographed War Letters, a 45 minute sequence combining poetry, music and dancers with soldier uniforms and 50’s style floral dresses to show the more innocent side of wartimes. War Letters started with a real letter from a soldier to his lover, following a dance playing out the feeling of longing between sweethearts. Then a touching dance, centre staged by Sayaka Ichikawa, a Japanese dancer, begun with a heartbreaking poem by Vicki Feaver, Coat:

Sometimes I have wanted
to throw you off
like a heavy coat.

Sometimes I have said
you would not let me
breathe or move.

But now that I am free
to choose light clothes
or none at all

I feel the cold
and all the time I think
how warm it used to be.

What Black Ballet perhaps lacked in all-times slickness and refinement, it definitely made up in its creativity and freshness of new ideas. Unfortunately the rest of the shows are now sold out but I would definitely encourage you to look out for follow ons by Black Ballet or other shows in the Linbury Studio Theatre.


Royal Opera House
Bow Street
Covent Garden
Metro: Covent Garden

Bare, industrial setting of Linbury Studio Theatre
Bare, industrial setting of Linbury Studio Theatre

(c) Nordic Odyssey, 2013. All Rights Reserved.


2 thoughts on “Interpreting Love by Black Ballet

  1. I’ve never heard of this theatre Kristiina – I’ve been to the ROH a bunch of times but never downstairs, great info and tip! This production sounds fantastic, what a great idea for a ballet group. Thanks for sharing the idea!!

    1. Linbury Studio Theatre definitely seems to be kept under wraps and you hardly see it in promotions when ROH is kept in the centre stage. Definitely worth a visit though and best for evenings when you want to experience something different in London. Thanks for your nice comment! x

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s