Witch-hunt at the Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House
Yesterday, after a short set of set-up shots I was able to stay and photograph the entire dress rehearsal of Cathy Marston’s Witch Hunt. Her last choreography for Bern Ballet, this contemporary dance draws on the story of Anna Goeldi, the ‘last witch of Europe’ who was tried, tortured and killed in Glarus, Switzerland in 1782, a time when witch trials had disappeared from most of Europe. The story is well known in Switzerland where there is a museum and an annual Women’s Rights prize in Goeldi’s name.
The set, principally comprised of a large moveable frame which is moved around by the dancers to represent a street, the inside of an institution, a cage, a home and more, is wonderfully stark while the dancers, all in white with white faces add an ethereal other-worldly quality. Their movements and expressions transmit a gamut of emotions, from fraught tenseness to mutual abandon, all the while displaying Cathy Marston’s precise, expressive and technically rigorous choreographic fusion of ballet, contemporary dance and acting (by Mona Kloos).
Although I expect to provide images from it for the Dance Today gallery, the principal reason I went was to get an image of this work to go in a book I’m working on. I didn’t expect to be able to stay for the whole thing and was thrilled to be able to do so. The production is only on at the ROH until May 25th, so you’ve not got much time to see it. I don’t recognise the production shots shown on the ROH site, but after seeing it through the lens myself recommend that you go.
by and (c) Carole Edrich