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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Fri Sep 16, 2005 8:26 am ]


Photo: Michel Cavalca

Philippe Decouflé’s Tricodex
(UK Premiere)

Thu 6 & Fri 7 October, 7.30pm
Sadler’s Wells: 0870 737 7737
Tickets £10 - £35

From an undulating bed of sea anemones to a myriad of mythical animals, imaginary plants, flying machines and labyrinths, Philippe Decouflé's Tricodex is a visual feast for all generations.

Featuring 28 dancers and over 150 fantastical costumes, Tricodex is the third instalment of Decouflé's inspired interpretation of Luigi Serafini's fictitious encyclopaedia, Codex Serafinius.

Combining visions of breathtaking beauty with witty aerial ballet - including a dancing bicyclist performing acrobatics 18 feet above the stage and two ballerinas defying gravity in a bungee-jumping duet - Tricodex is a glittering trip through the magical maze of Decouflé's imagination.

‘Decouflé sets off on a tour of dance and circus, music and costume that has made him one of France's most popular choreographers.’ The New York Times

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sat Oct 08, 2005 6:16 am ]
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7th October performance - a few quick thoughts

I was really looking forward to this, remembering Lyon Opera Ballet's delicious "Cendrillon" and Philippe Decouflé as a master illusionist in "Shazam" - created for his Company.

Sadly, "Tricodex" was a disappointment. There are gorgeous and strange costumes by Phillipe Guillotel, illustrating the fantasy animals from "Codex Serafinius", but they seem to take over and swamp the choreography, which is unmemorable. There is apparatus work and some flying on harnasses, but it is much less inspired than the effects we saw recently from Momix.

At around 75 minutes straight throught, many scenes were over-stretched and repetitive. Worst of all, there was little of interest for the dancers to do and I can imagine that this is not one of their favourites.

Never mind - my enthusiasm for Lyon Opera Ballet and Decouflé, at his best, remain undimmed - only mediocrity is always at its best.

Author:  AnaM [ Sun Oct 09, 2005 7:51 am ]
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On Friday 7th October I went to see Lyon Opera Ballet’s “Tricodex”, created by Philippe Decouflé for the French company. “Tricodex” had been presented in Sadler’s Wells the evening before and was part of Dance Umbrella.

“Tricodex” has been inspired by the “Codex Serafinus”, an encyclopedia created by Luigi Serafini featuring an imaginary universe. Decouflé had already choreographed two works inspired by this Codex, “Codex” (1987) and “Decodex” (1995).

Had London not been host to Momix and James Thiérrée’s works in the past few weeks, Lyon Opera Ballet’s performances could have appeared as being more groundbreaking and novel than they actually were. “Tricodex” focuses too much on the visual imagery provided by the costumes, but, without any choreographic framework to sustain the piece or any of the physical perfection that both Momix and Thiérrée had exhibited before, the work simply fell flat.

The piece opened with humour and it seemed a good start for the show. However, right after the opening, the work simply consisted of a parade of costumes being worn by a group of dancers that, more often than not, seemed ill at ease with what was required of them.

If in other shows, physical ability and perfection made up for the lack of choreographic content, in “Tricodex” this did not apply. The dancers were weak and unfocussed and thus, the element of physical perfection that could have made this work stand out was lost. Neither did the tricks displayed on the stage seem nothing out of the ordinary.

There was a beautiful moment when two women were bounced upwards and downwards with the help of elastic bands, but by now, it is well known that such aerial elements are nice and exciting features anyway.

It was a shame that the show did not manage to capture some sort of human touch. The darkness that seemed to surround the show in terms of lighting, was passed to the general feeling of a show that did not seem to ever take off.

A friend of mine used to say that if, after a film, all the audience could talk about was the beautiful landscapes and scenery featured, the film had miserably failed as such and become a documentary. Likewise, when in a dance piece, all there is to admire is the costumes, the work has become a catwalk and even as such it was not very striking.

Author:  kurinuku [ Mon Oct 10, 2005 1:50 am ]
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Lyon Opera Ballet
by JUDITH MACKRELL for the Guardian

The excuse for this fantastical dress parade is an encyclopaedia (compiled 20 years ago by an Italian naturalist), which documents a parallel universe of bizarre creatures and reinvented science.

published: October 10, 2005

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Mon Oct 10, 2005 2:41 am ]
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By Donald Hutera for The Times

Philippe Decouflé is one of those artists for whom the word eclectic was invented. He meant to be a clown but ended up a choreographer who occasionally makes award-winning music videos and masterminded such events as the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1992 Winter Olympics.

Nearly 20 years ago Decouflé began to apply his prodigious imagination to a trio of productions triggered by the Codex Serafinius, a huge encyclopedia concocted by the Italian artist and naturalist Luigi Serafini.

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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Fri Oct 14, 2005 7:21 am ]
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By John Percival for The Stage

There are 150 costumes in the Lyon Opera Ballet’s production Tricodex. That’s about five for every member of the cast during the 80 minute spectacle. We are not told anything about Philippe Guillotel, the designer, but it seems to me that such interest as the show holds depends mainly on him.

click for more

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Tue Nov 15, 2005 3:59 am ]
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By Simon May for Online Review London

It was a bizarre evening. So many superbly talented, skilful, versatile, witty dancers; such indefatigable lighting acrobatics by Patrice Besombes; such breathless changes of sets, costumes and supporting objects; such lavish sponsorship; everyone doing everything they can to oblige choreographer Philippe Decouflé ‚ and yet to what end?

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