Monday, 8 December 2014

Now you can see why I am such a fan of the Dutch National Ballet

I am very grateful to Richard Heideman, press officer of the Dutch National Ballet for bringing this video to my attention on twitter:

I think it is the best flashmob that I have ever seen.

For those who don't follow ballet this dance is a scene from the second act of Giselle . Myrthe, Queen of the Wilis, summonses the souls of girls who died of a broken heart just before their wedding night. Giselle, the heroine of the story, has just joined their number because she died in the arms of her mother on learning that Albrecht, a local aristocrat who had dressed up as a peasant was really a count and already engaged to be married to another lady. In some versions Giselle kills herself with Albrecht's sword which he left lying around for Hilarion, Giselle's old boyfriend, to pick up. In other productions, Giselle dies of shock or a broken heart.

I find something very dark and creepy about Giselle on stage which I find hard to reconcile with my religious beliefs (see Reflections on Giselle 29 Jan 2014). But Petitpa's choreography to Adam's haunting score is magnificent and I watch it as an abstraction as I would a ballet Balanchine. The beauty of this film is that it strips away the spooks and superstition and celebrates the glorious choreography and gorgeous music.

Shot in a Beijing shopping centre with the dancers wearing trainers and jeans rather than pointe shoes and romantic tutus with little wings hanging out at the back and their hair worn loose rather than in buns this is a marvellous way to appreciate this wonderful romantic ballet.

I am in no position to rank ballet companies but I have seen the world's finest including the Royal Ballet, English National, the Bolshoi and Mariinsky and American Ballet Theatre. Of all the great national companies the Dutch is the one I admire the most and like the best. If you want to learn more about this wonderful company I have written 11 articles about Ernst Meisner and his outstanding young dancers.

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