So far I have had three days off since the exhibition opened and how have I spent them? Well I have caught up with the two other major dance exhibitions in England – surely it is unheard of to have three such exhibitions in one country and the same time especially when they are not for a specific festival. Firstly there was Move: Choreographing You at the Hayward Gallery which looks at art and choreography from Simone Forti to Wayne McGregor; that is the scene over the past 50 years. As the title suggests this is an interactive exhibition with many moments for the visitor to participate, but personally I found The Fact of Matter by William Forsythe, a forest of gym rings on hoops, more effective in the gloom of a crumbling shed in Venice last year than in the bright light of the London gallery. Perhaps that one could make a fool of yourself as you struggled through it away from somewhere you would be recognised, contributed to my appreciation.
Secondly last weekend the exhibition Invitation to the Ballet Ninette de Valois and the Story of The Royal Ballet opened at the Lowry in Salford. This documents the career of Madam and the company she founded with costumes, photographs, designs and even a diversion into the world of Lowry himself. This exhibition in a sense continues one strand of ballet history emerging from our own Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes 1909-1929 for de Valois danced for Diaghilev in the 1920s and a portrait of de Valois in Bronislava Nijinska’s Les Biches features in our third gallery. The exhibitions also overlap with Picasso’s pochoir designs for Le Tricorne. Conveying life in a Spanish village Le Tricorne was created for Diaghilev in London in 1919 and staged for the then Sadler’s Wells Ballet by its choreographer Léonide Massine in 1947Interestingly just as Diaghilev overlaps with Invitation to the Ballet, so Move overlaps with Invitation with material on La Fille mal gardée.