Friday, 7 October 2016

World Ballet Day: from Amsterdam to Oslo

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It is quite impossible even for the most died in the wool balletomanes to watch World Ballet Day from start to finish without a break. I had a jolly good stab at it but even I had to eat and sleep and take a ballet class in Manchester. I have spent much of the last two days trawling through the footage looking at some of the bits I missed.  Even so I have barely begun to scratch the surface.

As I said on Wednesday, the best bit of World Ballet Day for me was the Dutch National Ballet's rehearsal of La Bayadere (see Dutch National Ballet's La Bayadere - the Highlight of my World Ballet Day 6 Oct 2016). My only regret is that we did not see more of them. The Dutch have produced three of the greatest choreographers of our time - Rudi van Dantzig, Toer van Schayk and Hans van Manen - and have two of the world's greatest dance companies, the Dutch National Ballet and the Netherlands Dance Theatre. The two guest slots offered by the Royal Ballet and the Bolshoi were far too short.

It was the young Dutch dancer, Bart Engelen who led me to the Norwegian Ballet (see The Norwegian Ballet 11 Aug 2015) and it was that company that offered the most spectacular lift of the day. The Artistic Director,  Ingrid Lorentzen, showed us:
I have been fascinated by Ekman ever since I saw the trailer for his Swan Lake:

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"Humans dressed as swans!" Now if you are going to jazz up Swan Lake that's the way to do it.  It was great to see him in the flesh.

But the piece de resistance came in The Nutcracker pas de deux immediately after the fish dive when Carreño turned Correa upside down and somehow suspended her on his back 4 feet in the air. "My!" exclaimed Ms, Lorentzen who has the most delightful smile and infectious giggle, "More exciting than opening presents." And she was right.

The Norwegians were dancing at the same time as my beloved Scots who had nurtured my love for ballet when I was an undergraduate at St. Andrews some 50 years ago. I turned to them in the hope of catching Bart who is part of Nasjonalballeten UNG which seems to be a special youth wing of the company. The director explained that they were on tour and dancing in Kristiansund.

I am quite hooked  by the Norwegians. I would love to see their Nutcracker but even if I don't make it Oslo between 1 and 23 Dec I should be able to make Paris in March where they will dance Swan Lake at the Theatre des Champs Elysees.

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