CriticalDance Forum

Zorba the Greek ballet from the Arena di Verona DVD
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Author:  lollomac [ Wed Oct 28, 2009 8:45 am ]
Post subject:  Zorba the Greek ballet from the Arena di Verona DVD

Hi all,

I found a DVD with the ballet under reference shot in the 90s at the Arena di Verona.
I'm wondering if somebody has seen it and wish a short review before buying it (you know, money is not enough in this period:-)

Here is the DVD:


Author:  Cassandra [ Wed Oct 28, 2009 10:06 am ]
Post subject: 

This appears to be a transfer to DVD of a ballet that I have had for some years on video. It is a danced version of the famous Anthony Quinn film with the familiar Theodorakis music expanded with a choir and solo singers. Vladimir Vasiliev dances Zorba and although his blond Russian appearance doesn’t make him look ideal as the grizzled old Greek, his stellar performance catches perfectly the mood of the story.

The work is choreographed to utilize the huge space of the Verona arena and uses a massive cast of villagers, dancers, singers etc. Lorca Massine’s choreography incorporates a good deal of traditional Greek dance but also uses a blend of modern and classical dance styles for the four main characters.

In case you haven’t seen the film, it is about a young writer who goes to live on the island of Crete and is befriended by a popular fixer called Zorba who encourages him into an affair with a young widow. When the affair is discovered, her rival suitor encourages the villages to stone her to death and she is killed before Zorba arrives to stop them. There is also a sub plot about an eccentric former beauty in love with Zorba himself.

The story is less grim than you might expect because of Zorba’s zest for life and his belief that dance is the cure for all life’s sorrows. The most famous scene in the film is the one where Zorba takes the young man to the sea shore and teaches him to dance.

In my view this is worth getting for Vasiliev’s performance alone, but tuneful and atmospheric as Theodorakis’s music is, I appreciate traditional Greek stuff isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

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