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Katy Hancock enjoys the latest instalment of Kim Brandstrup’s Greek mythology themed ballet

This week sees the welcome return of a world-renowned Danish choreographer, Kim Brandstrup, to the Ustinov Studio, Bath. Echo and Narcissus, is a brand-new work which runs from Wednesday 19th June to Saturday 6th July as part of the 2024 Deborah Warner Season.

Featuring a glittering array of award-winning dancers – including Bath’s own Laurel Dalley Smith from the Martha Graham Dance Company in New York, Seirian Griffiths, Jacob Wye, Jonathan Goddard and Archie White – the piece completes Brandstrup’s mythological trilogy.

Photo © 2024 Foteini Christofilopoulou.

Having had the pleasure of watching the hugely successful Minotaur and Metamorphoses in 2022, this next instalment of Greek mythology in dance form did not disappoint. As Echo, Laurel Dalley’s silent, rhythmic and nymph-like rotations around Narcissus in the prelude, set us up beautifully for a piece dominated by tormenting reflections, played out in both the clever set and lighting design of Justin Nardella and Chris Wilkinson and the incredible mirror dancing of Seirian Griffiths and Jacob Wye.

As Narcissus’ obsession with his own reflection spirals into madness and finally defeat when he experiences the unrequited love he so wounded Echo with, the floorwork takes on a whole new level of athleticism. Griffiths’ possessed movements are entrancing, while Goddard’s commanding stage presence draws the audience into the trickery of lighting and water until the final epilogue.

Photo © 2024 Foteini Christofilopoulou.

The final undulating and soulful pas de deux danced by Dalley and Griffiths is balm to the senses and culminates in a surge of relief when Echo and Narcissus finally see and hear one another.

This intoxicating performance is preluded first by Leda and the Swan, a short film created by Kim Brandstrup, and commissioned by the Royal Ballet for the Deloitte Ignite Festival 2014. Featuring Tommy Franzen (who also performed in Metamorphoses in 2022) and Zenalda Yanowsky, their dancing is a beautiful accompaniment to Yeat’s poem and the perfect appetiser for what we considered the main event – Echo and Narcissus.

Photo © 2024 Foteini Christofilopoulou.

The short film is followed by a performance of Britten’s Six Metamorphoses after Ovid, a work for solo oboe by Judy Proctor, and similarly inspired by Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

Echo and Narcissus is part of the 2024 Deborah Warner Season, which showcases a multi-genre programme of theatre, dance and recital performances across four months this year from June to September.

Echo and Narcissus appears at the Ustinov Studio at the Theatre Royal Bath from 19th June to 6th July. To book tickets contact the Theatre Royal Bath Box Office on 01225 448844 or book online at