|Vadim Muntagirov and Alina Cojocaru|
Sunday, 27 June 2021
Saturday, 26 June 2021
In my eyes, they succeeded and, I think, two reasons. First, the choreographers had a remarkably gifted cast. Timothy van Poucke who danced Prometheus is young and energetic but he also has an expressive countenance. Particularly memorable in that regard was the scene with Luc Smith and Raul van der Ent Braat representing humanity in its infancy. Van Poucke seemed to express amusement turning quickly into exasperation at humankind's antics. There was a poignant moment with the entrance of Floor Eimers, a tall, graceful and almost regal figure representing womankind. There were impressive duets and solos and it would be unfair to single any of the artists for special praise. The other reason for the success of the piece was Tatyana van Walsum's designs. The backdrop was particularly striking. It seemed to morph in texture and colour from scene to scene. At one point parts of classical statutes, a rockface at a third, the facades at Petra and eventually fire.
Sunday, 6 June 2021
|Author Jean Raoux Pygmalion in Love with his Statue|
A show to which I am particularly looking forward is Jess and Morgs's Coppelia for Scottish Ballet. It will be premiered at next year's Edinburgh International Festival and then go on tour. It is described as a "deliciously dark comedy of mischief and mistaken identity, reinvented for the digital age." It addresses the question: "What happens when you fall in love with a machine? How can we compete with the perfection of the unreal?"
The idea of a human being falling in love with an artefact is not a new one. I remember translating the story of Pygmalion from Ovid's Metamorphoses as an unseen when I was at secondary school. The reason why that story is relevant now is that it is possible to create a robot with some human and animnal characteristics. In Japan, robots that respond to touch, sound and light are already being used in nursing homes (see Don Lee Desperate for workers, aging Japan turns to robots for healthcare 25 July 2019 LA Times).
In Saint-Léon's ballet, Franz's infatuation for a doll that sits on a balcony all day holding a book upside down is secondary. The love story is between Franz and Swanhilda although one wonders just how long that marriage will last if Franz is already eyeing other women, breaking into Coppelius's workshop and accepting a drink from the old boy he has just burgled and whom he had previously roughed up on his way to the pub. What will he be like when he is in his forties and Swanhikda's left at home to look after the kids?
Jess and Morgs's production should be different. It promises to "test the boundaries of dance, theatre and film in this distinctive new adaptation of the classic ballet, blending location and real-time filming with projection and live performance." Jess and Morgs have already produced The Secret Theatre which I reviewed in Scottish Ballet's Secret Theatre on 22 Dec 2020. They have also created Cinderella Games for English National Ballet based on the ballet that Christopher Wheeldon created for the Dutch National Ballet and English National Ballet. They discuss their work for ENB on Chat with the Creatives: Jessica Wright and Morgann Runacre-Temple | English National Ballet 14 July 2020.
It is interesting that Jess and Morgs describe themselves as film makers and choreographers. The pandemic has brought a lot of suffering but there have been a few compensations. One of those is the development of dance film as an art form in its own right. It is to be hoped that that development continues when the emergency is over.
Friday, 4 June 2021
|Author Pd4u Licence Kopimi Source Wikimedia|
And this Thursday my heart risks shattering to smithereens because the Dutch National Ballet plans to live stream Beethoven on 8 June 2021 and David Dawson's Four Seasons on 15 June 2021 at 19:15 our time. Tickets can be obtained from the box office at +31(0) 20 625 54 55 or through the website ay www.operaballet.nl.
Thursday, 3 June 2021
"Under this method, young dancers learn how to cope with the physical and emotional demands of dancing through preventative conditioning, a clear understanding of their individual strengths and limitations and a detailed knowledge of dance technique."
Yoko Ichino, the deviser of that technique, is also Mrs David Nixon.
Nixon is highly regarded as a choreographer. While I can't say that I have liked all his work he is the author of two masterpieces. One is A Midsummer Night's Dream which I reviewed as follows in Realizing Another Dream on 15 Sept 2013:
"Perhaps the best way to start this review is at the end. I could not help rising to my feet as the cast took their bows. And I was not the only one. The English, unlike Americans, are very slow to give standing ovations (except at party conferences) and I have only seen other in my lifetime. That was a special evening for Sir Frederick Ashton at Covent Garden in July 1970 when he retired as director of the Royal Ballet. It seems from the tweets and video that Northern Ballet's short season at West Yorkshire Playhouse (6 to 14 Sept 2013) has also been very special."
"it took my breath away. I have seen a fair selection of Nixon's work and in my humble opinion Madame Butterfly is his masterpiece.
Whether Nixon takes up a new appointment or retires I wish him all the best for the future.
Wednesday, 2 June 2021
We wore trainers and plimsolls rather than ballet shoes. We were in jeans, shorts or tracksuits instead of leotards, We did warm-ups, pliés, tendus, glissés, ronds de jambe, fondus and grands battements withut a barre. Then tendus in the centre, followed by an adagio, warm up jumps, temps levés and cooldown. We had an audience that applauded our pliés until an acrobat somersaulting across the Canal Basin like an express train grabbed spectators attention.
and then select a class from "upcoming classes." There is a video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xu1s3Eo-qIE which shows you what to do. If you attend one of those outdoor classes you will experience ballet in a way that you have never done before. I don't know whether it will be possible for Karen to continue these classes when we return to the Dancehouse but I hope she will offer a few every year just to commemorate this time. They are definitely one of the positives of this pandemic.