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The Orpheus Suite
An introduction to Ellington
David Bintley discusses the appeal of the jazz legend
Read about the legend of Orpheus
Read reviews of previous performances
Journalist Duncan Heining talks to the big band leader and composer of The Orpheus Suite
David Bintley on the attraction of jazz
The creator of Take Five talks about his love of jazz
See shots from the Company studios
An overview of the ballet
Read quotes from reviews of previous performances
Meet the characters portrayed in the ballet
Geoffrey Smith looks at Duke Ellington's relationship with dance
Hamlet | Petruchio and Kate, a shrew | Richard III and Lady Anne | Macbeth and Lady Macbeth | Bottom and Titania | Othello and Desdemona | Romeo and Juliet
The Angst-ridden bookened to the ballet, Hamlet's descent into madness is an energetic fit of motion, with tempestuous choreography full of leaps and spins. Also requiring a strong acting ability, Hamlet is an all-round challenge for any dancer who takes on the role.
The only figure to dance solo, Hamlet is as such the only figure without a romantic partner to bounce off and react to. The emotion from this character comes purely from within: despair at his father's death, fear that he will not be able to avenge him, and the confusion over whether it is ethically sound to do so.
His lack of a partner also provides Hamlet with a striking contrast to the rest of the figures in the ballet, drawing attention to the despair of a character alone, without someone else to confide in, find solace in, and share with. Coming both before Petruchio and Kate, and after Romeo and Juliet, two of the most loving relationships presented here, simply serves to highlight this emptiness of this lone figure all the more.
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