For my first venture in seeing dance at the Royal Opera House, the Festival of New Choreography a varied evening of New Work. It would be the variety that stood out, different themes and moods to bo broaden the pallet of the night. Allow me to break them down:

Boundless, choreography by Gemma Bond.

In a more approachable opener, this felt like a tribute to Frederick Ashton. The soft blue palette of costumes by Charlotte Macmillan stood out, Bond's magnetic feel for the movement was elegant and didn't outstay its welcome. Joey Roukens' In Unison as the score kept up a metallic, American presence to add to the aura.

Never Known, choreography by Joshua Junker.

This piece went down very well from what I could detect from the audience. I'd say it was my favourite from the offering as well. Junker has a feel for the atmospheric, moody light that permeates the opening, as the collection of dances pulsates towards this light source. It was all very absorbing, the most contemporary out of the set. The dancers seemed to be yearning for something greater as they formulated profound gesturing and subdued passages around the space. I'll be thinking about this for some time.

For What It's Worth, choreography by Mthuthuzeli November.

The spirit of South Africa is alive and well thanks to November. The scorching heat aside from the orange and purple clothes from Yann Seabra, made all this feel authentic, without a cry of appropriation. Having said this I was not so taken with this, it was very quiet and left little of an impact. The flurrying and bursting street dances of the country were November's inspiration, feeling like a community effort from these dancers filled with promise.

Twinkle, choreography by Jessica Lang.

A spaceflight from New Yorker Lang, with humour and charm. The costumes of Jillian Lewis appeared stained with bleach, the star in question has the look of a warped Ikea light. On piano, Kate Shipway elegantly played Brahms' Cradle Song and Mozart's Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Variations all the while cloaked behind the back screen. It outstayed its welcome slightly, though I was quite taken with it. It was much more traditionally 'ballet' in nature, but the cheeky high-fiving, fluttering off-stage and unexpected turns stood out. It's the imagery that shall remain in the mind's eye.

It runs till 21 Feb.

Review: James Ellis    Photo: Andrej Uspenski