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Royal Danish Ballet

'The Kermesse in Bruges' and 'La Ventana'

by Kate Snedeker

May 24, 2005 -- Royal Theatre, Copenhagen

On Tuesday, the Royal Danish Ballet took to the Royal Theatre stage in the second performance of the August Bournonville double bill of "La Ventana" and "The Kermesse in Bruges". This was the first look at the second cast, and there were fine performances in both ballets, especially Yao Wei in Lloyd Riggins' new production of "The Kermesse in Bruges".  However, with a number of little mistakes and mishaps adding up, the evening, though pleasant, lacked the spark and energy of Saturday's re-premiere.

"La Ventana", with debuts all around, was led by the charming Izabela Sokolowska and the dashing Mads Blangstrup, with Andrew Bowman, Femke Mølbach Slot and Diana Cuni in the pas de trois.  Sokolowska's debut was promising, her dancing tinged with youthful boldness and passion. Yet as the program states, this a ballet "where propriety keeps temperaments at bay" and and Sokolowska occasionally seemed not to have quite the right blend of spicy mystery and restraint. Nonetheless, Sokolowska coped admirably well with a curtain that would not completely close after the Mirror Dance and a mantilla that slipped from the comb in her hair too early.

Though displaying high, airy jumps and elegantly, soaring grand jete attitude croisees, Blangstrup lacked a spark in his chemistry with Sokolowska.  Bowman is a tall and solid, but dances with a sleek smoothness and attention to detail, obvious the care he took in making sure his double tours landed cleanly in fifth.

Like "La Ventana", " The Kermesse in Bruges" featured several excellent debuts, but was lacking in overall energy.  Dawid Kupinski, the nerves on opening night gone, seems to have settled into the role of Carelis.  Despite a glitch in the beginning of his solo in the first act pas de deux, he quickly slipped back into time, and again displayed a wonderful mix of control, youthful energy and crispness.  Opposite him, Yao Wei was a sweet Eleonore, delicate and precise in her dancing and heartfelt in her mime.

Tim Matiakis had the biggest shoes to fill in his debut as Geert, following Thomas Lund's standout performance on Saturday, but succeeded in making the character his own.  Despite having been with the company for under a year, he emerged as a talented Bournonville mime, who is also no slouch technically, whipping off impressive pirouettes right into a realistic pratfall.  A few rough moments emerged, but these should smooth out with more performances.

Diana Cuni and Lesley Culver made fine debuts as the two sisters, Marchen and Joanna. A genial and elegant Mirewelt, Erling Eliasson could perhaps have been, at times, more forceful with his mime as to make it as clear from way up in the balconies as from the orchestra section.  Another role debut came from Lis Jeppesen, a former Eleonore, as Trutje.  Martin Stauning, in yet another debut, was a wonderfully fussy and exasperated Claes.

Yet, the overall feeling was of a general lack in energy.  The simple sets which had been brought to life by the dynamic opening night cast, seemed to pale slightly on this evening.  The ending was also marred by a late lighting cue which left the cast in near darkness for a few seconds in the final scene.

Two fine ballets, but one hopes that the little problems will be sorted out so that all the excellent individual performances can come together in a dynamic whole in the future.

Graham Bond conducted the DR Radio Orchestra.


Edited by Staff.

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