But… in an evening this, audiences tend to compare one dancer to the other as if in a sort of competition.
I intensely disagree with this way of thinking.
All those young talents are there to be encouraged, stimulated and not criticized, demotivated.
In such occasions I might bring back a short but very accurate thought of Bela Bartok, which expresses exactly what I feel:
“COMPETITIONS ARE FOR HORSES, NOT ARTISTS".
I will not be able to mention the names of every single dancer that was on stage and presented us with such a beautiful première yesterday – but I shall try my best.
The programme started slowly with Roland Petit’s “Die Flermaus”.
Not being particularly a great admirer of Mr. Petit’s work (with some few exceptions) I could concentrate more on watching certain performances and was quite impressed with the latest development in the careers of Marian Furnica, Tristan Ridel and Géraud Wielick – all three playing the parts of the waiters.
Jacopo Tissi was the highlight of the piece: very secure technically, he danced with extreme joy.
Even though "Pas de Odalisques" is a very challeging piece thecnically it left the audience somehow with a tepid reaction.
All three dancers were wonderful but I must catch your attention to Miss Chloe Réveillon and her beautiful "passés".
Unfortunately “The Fall” reminded me extremely of the repetitious Merce Cunninghan’s work during the 70’s.
It made me think and wonder again if “all has not been already said” (and no new language, nothing new turns up)
I was not yet aware that I would be taught otherwise during this evening.
The atmosphere of the evening began to change with the great “Arepo” (Béjart), which was a joy to watch again:
Maria Tostunova (in a strong “Schonach Mirk tradition” – even though she does not know who she was – given to her by Monsieur Legris’ rehearsals and coaching),
Jakob Feyferlik and Leonardo Basílio - great in red - were at their very best.
“Spring and Fall” (John Neumeier) – one of the best choreographies from the evening - a strong, very touching piece that gives its dancers new perspectives of extreme individuality.
Francesco Costa, Géraud Wielick (in a strong music & dance symbiosis) and Anita Manolova (very “actress-like” in a manner that even reminded me of the “tragic” Marcia Haydée) showed a strong, very defined presence on stage.
Greig Matthews, shining again as the star that he is, showed us the great professional that he turned into.
In full command of his performance he simply translated perfectly Neumeier’s language with the use of his torso and arms. Adapting to every single role and changing his dance vocabulary seem not to be a challenge to this young dancer.
By the way: I am always impressed with Mr. Matthews very high demi-pointe on stage – these “very little details” which are carefully rehearsed and thought of show us the intelligence of a dancer. Yes, young talents...
One of my all-time favourite pieces, „Tarantella“ (George Balanchine) was, for me personally, one of the evening’s highlights…
Mr.B. admired this particular composition and choreographed a pas de deux for lovely Patricia McBride and Edward Villella in 1964.
I am not quite sure if this work was ever performed in Vienna. I guess not.
And that may be the reason why it was so “unusual” and surprising to the audience, accustomed only to the cliché around Mr. B. that involves such works as “Apollo”, “Concerto Barocco” and "Stravinsky Violin Concerto" (that was once called “Balustrade”).
Viennese audiences surely have a great potential in what is concerned to learning about Ballet!
This joyful music, despite its phony Italian air, was composed by Louis Moreau Gottschalk , a New Orleans–born composer and pianist who made a large impact and had a huge following during his short life.
In his “Complete Stories of the Great Ballets”, Balanchine wrote of the above mentioned music, “It is a dazzling display piece, full of speed and high spirits. So, I hope, is the dance, which is ‘Neapolitan’ if you like, and ‘demi-caractère.”
I do think that the man’s part is somewhat quite an ungrateful (perhaps ungraceful?) one – but Trevor Hayden was in his element – even if sometimes, while resting playing the Tamborine, perhaps a little short of breath.
His interpetration is somewhat much more refined - not the one of a peasant dancing a folk dance - especially if you think of the video with Miss McBride and with Mr. Vilella , in which the latter looks more like a dancing version of Mario Lanza (or a truck driver) than a dancer.
Miss Fogo was the perfect choice to this demanding part.
You may be asking “but why demanding”?
On one side it combines technique, speed and humour.
On the other it is quite a tiring piece for the dancer – not easy to keep such stamina, speed and level of energy and power – more like “high voltage” - throughout the whole piece – even if only takes about 7 minutes.
P.S. In the programme I read about 6 minutes - who is right about this?
Once more I have to underline the “coincidence” of Miss Fogo’s family name, which in portuguese means “Fire”:
such a fiery, passionate performance that had a great reception. The audience simply loved her and I am sure that we will hear/see lots more of Miss Fogo in the near future.
“Double Date” (choreography Trevor Hayden), a piece I had not previously seen (just an excerpt of it during a press conference) started, personally to me, in a very stressful manner: you see, I dislike intensely Yma Sumac’s voice and music – this may be a sort of childhood trauma. But soon after that I changed my mind completely about it. Mr. Hayden’s choreography is fresh, cheeky, naughty and insolent – in vulgar parlance: saucy.
The audience reacted very excitedly.
It was obvious to everyone that the four dancers – Gala Jovanovic, Keisuke Nejime, Chloe Réveillon (great comedy timing by the way) and multi-talented Ryan Booth were having lots of fun on stage.
Great cheers at the end of part one…
Yes, something new turned up to me.
Part two started with Balanchine’s “Valse Fantaisie”.
I still remember times, when Mr. B. was still alive, when dancers from the ABT would not even dare to think about dancing “Balanchine” – not a question of technique but of style.
For me Mr. B’s movements are a sharp brush-stroke on an empty canvas and I missed that kind of “diamond quality” a bit yesterday.
Nonetheless Natascha Mair and Jakob Feyferlik gave beautiful performances.
I must get your attention to the accurateness and loveliness of Miss Laura Nistor’s work in the corps-de-ballet. A pleasure to look at.
Incredibly enough I am not much acquainted with Patrick Bana’s work and “Creatures” was sort of "new ground" for me.
And how I enjoyed that.
Géraud Wielick, completely free – and again giving himself totally to the music - and incredible Nikisha Fogo showing us another facet of her very strong stage personality.
Moments of joy.
Thanks, Mr. Bana.
It has been “centuries” since I have last seen “La fille mal gardée”,
and if I am not mistaken it was at the Opera Garnier.
James Stephens caught my attention immediately by the first time he caught Nina Tonoli in the air:
Not only a strong dancer but also an extremely reliable partner.
Miss Tonoli is the classic dancer “per se”.
Hers is a quality I first saw while she danced her first Clara in “The Nutcracker”, a rare gift that is becoming more and more difficult to find.
She possesses not only technique but charm and style:
I wonder how she’d be someday in “Coppelia” and "Giselle"…
“Le Bourgeois”: a show-stopper not only because of eternal Jacques Brel’s voice and interpretation but also due to some “juggle” which turns the piece into a bit of a “circus” one.
But it is lovely!
Francesco Costa very, very expressive and in great form.
“Proust ou le Intermittences du coeur” (Petit):
I have written today that I am not a great admirer of Mr. Petit’s work but there are some exceptions… here is one of these.
This combat is, in a special way, very puristic and very “DANCE” (as it should be) from the beginning to the end.
A piece of work that will not “bring down the house” (unfortunately) like “Le Bourgeois” did, and that is surely mostly cherished by real balletomanes with a full understanding of the art of ballet.
It contains such beauty that words may be not describe it.
Jacopo Tissi and Zsolt Török are the perfect choices for this duo.
Both technically very strong and phisically appealing are very different from each other.
Mr. Tissi somewhat softer in his movements, Mr. Török more dominating:
Yin and Yang in perfect combination.
„Grand Pas Classique“ (music from “Le Dieu et La Bayadere” by Daniel Auber), created for Yvette Chauviré and Vladimir Skouratoff in Paris, 1949 is surely the best-know choreographic work from Victor Gsovsky and extremely - perhaps only - associated to France and the Operá de Paris.
Performed in Galas all around the Globe it has served a long line of fabulous ballerinas as a sort of “tour-de-force”, being perhaps one the highest points of display of clean, accurate classical technique in Ballet.
Leonardo Basílio showed us that he has got “it” for a beautiful future.
He has got it all to turn into a strong, attentive, reliable partner.
Prisca Zeisel had the difficult task to “jump into the (point) shoes” of such legends as Chauviré, Elizabeth Platel and Sylvie Guilllem.
Not an easy one for such a young dancer as Miss Zeisel - who, by the way, lost a few pounds and is looking her best.
And she succeeded marvelously.
The audience went static with her rendition.
One full of charm and joy but also filled with a well-defined, meticulous, polished technique.
And just think that exactly one year ago she had a cast on her broken leg...
Prisca Zeisel & Leonardo Basílio (Copyright: Ashley Taylor)
Summarizing yesterday’s evening:
a marvelous experience offered with the highest level and carefulness.
Thanks again to Monsieur Legris and his "genius".
Yes, his profound knowledge about dance and his dancers...
Giving each one of them the right piece.
I am glad that I got to tell him exactly this - personally - yesterday!
Copyright: DelbeauFilm / Balázs Delbó