WITHIN THE GOLDEN HOUR / MEDUSA / FLIGHT PATTERN | London, Royal Opera House

At the centre of this trio of 35-minute, 21st century dance pieces, is the world premiere of Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s Medusa (2019), his first time choreographing for The Royal Ballet — better known for choreographing Beyoncé. Here, we sympathise with the snake-haired Gorgon (Natalia Osipova), who seeks revenge for her horrific rape: when she turns soldiers to stone, she embraces them, head fixed on the audience, snake-kicking, and they continue to writhe.

Closing the show is Crystal Pite’s Olivier Award-winning Flight Pattern (2017), featuring an ensemble of 36 grey-coated refugees, rocking with the waves; the finale is a rage-filled, tour-de-force male solo (Marcelino Sambé). Set to music from Górecki’s much-loved 3rd Symphony, the result is unbearably moving.

The evening opens with Christopher Wheeldon‘s Within The Golden Hour (2008), largely focused on a series of abstract pas de deux, dancers almost nude except for flashes of gold, set against a constantly colour-shifting, sunset-like cyclorama. All the collected figures reconvene in the finale, joining together into a perpetual-motion-like machine, as the curtain closes.

The choreography is all contemporary, but musically, the timespan is huge. In Medusa, a new electronic score (Olga Wojciechowska) alternates with songs by Purcell, including an amazingly re-appropriated “Frost Song”. Within The Golden Hour similarly mixes the 21st century and the Baroque, mixing Ezio Bosso and Vivaldi. An unmissable evening of world-class contemporary dance.

Tickets available from £3 until 21 May 2019.

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