LIGHT OF PASSAGE | London, Royal Opera House

Celebrated choreographer Crystal Pite has expanded her 30-minute, Olivier award-winning piece about the refugee crisis, Flight Pattern (2017), into a full-length, three-part ballet. It’s a great idea, since Górecki’s heart-rending Symphony no. 3 for soprano and orchestra also follows a three-movement structure. While some audience may think, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” the three-part expansion does work.

Part one, Flight Pattern, sees three dozen members of the Royal Ballet turned into throbbing, tumbling mob of grey-coated refugees. Part two, Covenant, focuses on six at-risk children, inspired by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. It’s a simple but extremely effective way of expanding upon the same theme, plus a showcase for the jaw-dropping talents of the Junior Associates of the Royal Ballet School.

Part three, Passage, is where Pite really pushes the scope of her work, from the passage of migration to the “ultimate” passage from this life to the next one. Featuring two senior performers from the Company of Elders, Isidora Barbara Joseph and Christopher Havell, the set design (Jay Gower Taylor) sees glowing tubes of light descend and cocoon the ensemble in paired foetal positions.

Light of Passage (2022) is, in fact, the first full-length ballet commissioned for a female choreographer in thirty years. The screaming audience response at the curtain call is truly the loudest you will have ever heard for the Royal Ballet.

Playing at the Royal Opera House 18 October – 3 November 2022.

The Prickle - About transp