Royal Swedish Ballet
by Maggie Foyer
March 7, 2013 -- Royal Opera House, Stockholm, Sweden
Marco Goeke was already in the process of creating a new work for the latest contemporary programme when he was taken ill and Johan Inger leapt into the breach. He was able to offer I New Then, a work he had recently written for NDT2; and what a treat it was. Inger is back on form with that gentle irony and puckish humour that characterised his earlier works. His choreography is full and varied, accessible to his audience and allowing the dancers to stretch themselves physically. Van Morrison’s moody music and impressionistic lyrics provides the springboard for the waves of empathy that permeate this youthful work. The choreography creates a language that communicates through the group; full of the feel good factor as the movements ebb and flow.
The middle section has a neat comic storyline as two of the dancers, Mariko Kido and Luca Vetere, peel off from the group to stand transfixed in a forest of poles, gazing into each other’s eye in one of those ‘Romeo meets Juliet’ moments. Anton Valdbauer, a small guy with huge talent, takes an unlikely voyeuristic role. He watches with fascination as they very slowly and very purposefully remove individual items of clothes interpreting their desire in excited moves and empathetic sounds - a language more meaningful than mundane words. The mood infects the rest of the company who join in and strip down to underwear in a party atmosphere. Good dance and good fun.
If Inger’s work is about togetherness, Time Themes, choreographed by Emanuel Gat, is a study in separation. His programme notes refer to music and dance finding their own paths; individual but parallel. However the two spheres were so different that it was more a case of split vision than contrasting coordinates.
The four men dressed in jeans and tight orange tops with close cropped hair present a tough masculine presence. They work primarily on the apron of the stage, moving in parallel time and space but each man for himself; the moments of contact more functional than emotional. However the choreography is powerful, fluid and dynamic and the dancers, Jerôme Marchand, Anthony Lomuljo, Kristóf Várnagy and Hokuto Kodama, interpreted it with passion and power.
The black clad quartet of male singers, placed in the dimmer back regions of the stage, inhabit a quite different world. Facing inward in a tight circle their voices blend harmoniously in Schubert’s sombre, death laden songs: Grave and Moon and Melancholy. It was unfortunate that so much individual talent didn’t find an integrated unity.
Öhman has introduced a range of pre-show and interval fillers to extend the shorter contemporary programmes. During the late summer a wide screen erected outside the Opera House gave an insight into rehearsals plus interviews with the dancers, while in the adjoining Kungsträdgården , the King's Garden, the dancers performed extracts of Alexander Ekman’s Tyll, the humour and lively choreography instantly engaging with the audience of passers-by.
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