Men in Motion, Coliseum, London – review

Men in Motion, installed at the Coliseum on Friday for a two-day outing, is directed by Ivan Putrov as a celebration of male dancing, featuring a good deal of bare-chested activity together with the expected homage to male roles from earlier times. Alas, the evening’s selection of antiques – a risible account of Nijinsky’s Faune; a crass approximation of Le Spectre de la rose redeemed by Vadim Muntagirov’s beautiful dancing; an insolent assault on Petrushka’s second scene – merit action under the Trade Descriptions Act. The statutory and inevitable selection of muscle-bound novelties were mostly in doubtful taste.

I cannot forgive the tedious academic caperings by a perfectly nice chap set to the Lacrimosa from Mozart’s Requiem, nor those leaden exercises in step-making for men which cause the protagonists to seem betrayed by their tasks. Of these let me cite Russell Maliphant’s Two by Two in which the admirable Daniel Proietto and Putrov swung their arms and waved to each other amid the encircling gloom, and the twitching clichés of 3 with D by Javier de Frutos, in which Edward Watson (hero of these columns) and Marijn Rademaker were trapped in a predictably neurotic “He loves me; he loves me not” encounter. Both men looked – very rightly – uneasy.

That sublime blues Down in the depths on the 90th floor was given a bashing, and this anaemic affair merits the nearest bin. Watson later socked it to us in a witty solo by Arthur Pita – Volver, Volver – which revealed that he is, as we already suspect, Superman, and as elegant as Fred Astaire.

Another hero of the evening was Valentino Zucchetti, who danced Leonid Jakobson’s witty Vestris as well as did Baryshnikov all those years ago, and later made great sense of Liza from Balanchine’s Who cares. Cheers for him. And for the other men, who gave of their best amid sometimes inimical surroundings. Roars for Proietto, camouflaged in sequins, glittering in the dark like the world’s population of fireflies, and roaring tremendously through Sinnerman, a ferociously demanding solo by Alan Lucien Øyen. And to Muntagirov, massive laurels for his unfailingly elegant, heart-lifting classicism in a serene Adagio by Alexey Miroshnichenko.

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