English National Ballet dances emotionally-charged choreography with seamless fluidity in Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon, bringing dazzling decadence, drama and despair to the stage.
The late British choreographer’s intense romance is a classic narrative ballet that is rarely performed regionally. In fact, English National Ballet’s current revival and tour of this MacMillan masterpiece is quite an occasion as the company is presenting it outside London for only the second time in thirty years.
Despite being created in 1974, the three-act tragedy remains a paragon of adult, dramatic dance. Inspired by Abbé Prévost’s notorious 1731 French novel Manon Lescaut and danced to the music of Jules Massenet, MacMillan’s Manon is a balletic interpretation of one of the earliest imaginings of a femme fatale. It boasts meaty principal roles, bustling crowd scenes and enthralling pas de deux highlights; all of which push the boundaries of what ballet is, and should be, to unashamedly explore the darker side of the human condition.
If you love ballet, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to experience Manon — and if you don’t think ballet is for you, it’s even more important to give this powerful production a go.