Dance Review – Nijinsky’s Last Jump @ The Macrobert.

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Darren Bownlie and James Bryce. Photo: Cordelia Company

Nijinsky’s Last Jump, created by Scottish Dance Company, Chordelia, opened to unanimous praise at the Edinburgh Fringe last year, and shows the passionate young Nijinsky come face to face with the older Nijinsky – a fragile, isolated man who’s life and talent has deteriorated through no choosing of his own. 

“Set in a theatre dressing room, this show combines theatre and dance to explore this legendary 20th century dancer’s troubled story. Watch as Young and Old Nijinsky consider their life together, on and off stage, trying to make sense of the loss of self.”

– Macrobert Arts Centre

Vaslav Nijinsky, is adored as a master of ballet choreography and his vision of movement and story telling has had a lasting influence on the graceful dance.

But at aged 29, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and his own story grew dark. Nijinsky, spent many years undergoing intermittent treatment whilst hospitalised. However, with limitations into the understanding of his illness, his situation become worse and his career and love of ballet suffered.

In Nijinsky’s Last Jump, theatre and dance come together to explore the touching relationship between the young and old Nijinsky, as they journey together into the confusion of their own mind.

The choreography, not only convey the actions of the characters, but also sensitively reveals clues that help the audience unlock the secrets of Nijinsky’s physical and mental breakdown over time.

The use of extracts from Nijinsky’s diaries, delivered as speech between the two players, offers a touching insight into the passionate joys and woes of this man throughout his life.

Overall, the performance was not just an excellent piece of dance and theatre. It was an invitation into an alluring private world where concerns such as unique talent, age and mental health came together and created something very affecting indeed.

by Caroline Malcolm

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