Dances at a Gathering/ The Cellist @ ROH

Live screening on 25 February 2020

This is the information on the Royal Opera House website:

Cathy Marston has previously been an Associate Artist of the Royal Opera House and Director of Bern Ballett, and is much in demand internationally. The inspiration for her first work for The Royal Ballet Main Stage is the momentous life and career of the cellist Jacqueline du Pré. Jerome Robbins’s elegant and elegiac classic forms the second part of the programme. This exercise in pure dance for five couples, set to music by Chopin, is a masterpiece of subtlety and invention.

Mixed programme
These works are performed together:

Cathy Marston’s first work for The Royal Ballet on the Main Stage.

Company The Royal Ballet

Choreography Cathy Marston

Scenario Cathy Marston and Edward Kemp

Music Philip Feeney

Set designer Hildegard Bechtler

Costume designer Bregje van Balen

Lighting designer Jon Clark

Conductor Andrea Molino

Lauren Cuthbertson
Matthew Ball
Marcelino Sambé

Solo cello Hetty Snell
Concert Master Sergey Levitin


Jerome Robbins’s ballet is a fluid exercise in pure dance for five couples, set to piano music by Fryderyk Chopin.


Company The Royal Ballet

Choreography Jerome Robbins

Music Fryderyk Chopin

Costume designer Joe Eula


Luca Acri
Marianela Nuñez
Francesca Hayward
Yasmine Naghdi
Fumi Kaneko
Laura Morera
Alexander Campbell
William Bracewell
Federico Bonelli
Valentino Zucchetti

Solo piano Robert Clark

Dances at a Gathering was first on the night. Wonderful music and some of the best trained dancers to embody it, a superb evening!

Intriguing to me is God’s reason for this story without a story. I don’t claim to know, just guessing. My thoughts recently have been dwelling on the notion of existence being a dance and life being just one note of this. Here we are presented with five couples who meander in and out of each other’s song, mostly harmoniously. However they all seem to be one in some way. Indicating, perhaps, five different ways to express the one note, which can either help or hinder in finding its correctness. I would not give it any other quality, other than authenticity. Perhaps when all five find the same note it can be as genuine as it is meant to be?

The Cellist would seem to be the story of a person who found this. Found the perfect way of expressing that one note, so that there was nothing left to say. I really wouldn’t know, but it does not feel correct to me. I think there may have been something else for Jacqueline to discover to make her song, her one note, totally authentic, and perhaps losing the two loves in her life, in a way, was the only way for her to discover this, to be able to be that one note, perhaps even without knowing why during her life. Just guessing, and hopefully not stepping on anyone’s toes!!

Performances were honed to perfection in all their glory or awkwardness, supported by extraordinary music and musicians!