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Celebration of International Choreography, RB, 21/01/00
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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Mon Jan 24, 2000 4:25 am ]
Post subject:  Celebration of International Choreography, RB, 21/01/00

After problems at The Royal Opera House on Thursday night, much publicised in the UK Press, the Friday performance of the Royal Ballet's Celebration of International Choreography went off without any apparent hitches. Surprise, surprise, no news items in the Press. The problematic scene shifting went smoothly, with the precaution that the Ashley Page work, which had caused so much trouble the night before, went on first.<P>I enjoyed the pace and physicality of Page's 'Hidden Variables'. I expected Mara Galeazzi to be good, but in the event, I thought she was exceptional, combining suppleness and precision and catching the spirit of the work deliciously. The rest of the cast danced with verve and the under-rehearsed look mentioned elsewhere for recent RB performances was absent. Although I continued to enjoy it, I'd have to admit that there wasn't a lot of development in the second half. Apparently, Page was not as enthusiastic about the specially commissioned second part of the score as for the first, which already existed. <P>I also enjoyed modern dance choreographer Sue Davies' 'A Stranger's Taste', without feeling that it ever caught fire. Four weeks to create a 30 minute work with dancers unused to your methods is a tall order and does not allow much time to discard sections and start again. Jenny Tattersall stole the show for me and I suspect that Davies enjoyed choreographing on her here, as well as in '13 Keys' for Dance Umbrella in 1999. Bruce Sansom looked at home dancing in a new style for him, but perhaps the understated subtlety of Davies suits his temperament. <P>Tharp's 'Known by Heart' left me cold, I'm afraid. I enjoy humorous pieces, but this seemed laboured with its references to every dance style known to man from Bharata Natyam to Broadway, hip-hop and ballet. Ethan Stiefel is a fine technician, but on the basis of the ABT 'Corsaire' video and here, I find his interpretations unsubtle.<P>'Remanso' was a different matter altogether. Beautiful dance enlivened, but not drowned by great wit. It was a rare treat to see Carlos Acosta and Jonathan Cope dancing together with great skill and Inaki Urlezaga did well to hold his own in such company. Thinking back, perhaps 'Remanso' makes an impression because we expect all-male pieces to be fast, furious, macho affairs. This elegant and unhurried work breaks the mould and the mood is signified by the rose which is passed from dancer to dancer throughout the piece. I hope we see more of this work and others by Nacho Duato at Covent Garden.<P>Instead of Martins' Barber piece from the previous night, we had a solo from 'M' by Bejart. The steps provided a showcase for Juichi Kobayashi, who gave us an extraordinary 7 minutes. It seemed to me that he has it all - great strength and technique combined with delicacy and grace. He made an impression on me when he performed with the Bejart Company at Sadler's Wells in the early 90s and he looks even better now. <P>'The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude' really is Forsythe for those who don't like Forsythe. The neoclassical style came as such a shock that, taken together with its great pace, I need to see it again to form a clear opinion about it. Johan Kobborg and Victor Alvarez were stunning in the two male roles, coping with the extreme speed and difficulty with ease. Alvarez is yet another graduate of the Victor Ullate School in Madrid. Remembering that Tamara Rojo of English national Ballet and Angel Corella were also there, the School can lay claim to being one of the best around at the moment. The women, Marianela Nunez, Sarah Wildor and Jaimie Tapper from the National Ballet of Canada, made less of an impression on me, but were encumbered with thin tutus, which stuck straight out and wobbled in an ugly fashion at every step.<P>Overall, a very good evening of ballet with interesting and varied choreography and some exceptional performances.<P>

Author:  Azlan [ Tue Jan 25, 2000 8:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Celebration of International Choreography, RB, 21/01/00

Thanks, Stuart. I wish I was there.

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