Companies

A Bold Combo

“Giselle” (Act II), “Agora”
São Paulo Dance Company
Teatro Sérgio Cardoso
São Paulo, Brazil
October 02 and 03, 2021 (live streams)

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2021 by Ilona Landgraf

1. C.Pegurelli (Giselle), “Giselle” by L.van Cauwenbergh after J.Coralli and J.Perrot, São Paulo Dance Company 2021 © C.LimaBefore resuming their international tours, the São Paulo Dance Company opened the season at home in the Teatro Sérgio Cardoso with a refreshingly bold double bill that contrasted the second act of “Giselle” – an foundational piece from the romantic era – with “Agora”, a punchy 2019 creation by the São Paulo-based choreographer Cassi Abranches. I viewed two performances with different casts that were streamed live on October 2nd and 3rd, 2021.

“Giselle” (Act II) is a new addition to the company’s repertoire, adapted by in-house ballet teacher Lars van Cauwenbergh – a 3. B.Paulino (Myrtha) and ensemble, “Giselle” by L.van Cauwenbergh after J.Coralli and J.Perrot, São Paulo Dance Company 2021 © C.Lima2. B.Paulino (Myrtha) and ensemble, “Giselle” by L.van Cauwenbergh after J.Coralli and J.Perrot, São Paulo Dance Company 2021 © C.Limaformer dancer at the Royal Ballet of Flanders and the English National Ballet. van Cauwenbergh based his work on the original choreography by Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot, retaining Adolphe Adam’s music as well as the traditional setting and decór (one difference: the forest surrounding Giselle’s grave is a tropical one often overtaken by wafting mist). A red drape curtain frames the proscenium, reminding us that what we watch is fiction (set design by Vera Hamburger, costumes by Marilda Fontes). Wagner Freire’s lighting occasionally looks unsubtle on camera.

4. C.Pegurelli (Giselle), B.Paulino (Myrtha), and ensemble, “Giselle” by L.van Cauwenbergh after J.Coralli and J.Perrot, São Paulo Dance Company 2021 © C.Lima5. V.Vieira (Duke Albrecht), C.Pegurelli (Giselle), B.Paulino (Myrtha), and ensemble, “Giselle” by L.van Cauwenbergh after J.Coralli and J.Perrot, São Paulo Dance Company 2021 © C.LimaAmong the small changes made by van Cauwenburgh, I noticed the – hopefully – merciful fate of Hilarion, whom the Wilis sling towards the forest behind Giselle’s tombstone rather than drowning him in a lake. The storyline seemed clearer than usual and, especially in terms of the leading couple, Giselle and Duke Albrecht, a touch more emotional.
 7. V.Vieira (Duke Albrecht) and ensemble, “Giselle” by L.van Cauwenbergh after J.Coralli and J.Perrot, São Paulo Dance Company 2021 © C.Lima6. V.Vieira (Duke Albrecht), C.Pegurelli (Giselle), and ensemble, “Giselle” by L.van Cauwenbergh after J.Coralli and J.Perrot, São Paulo Dance Company 2021 © C.LimaCarolina Pegurelli’s Giselle, which I saw on October 2nd, combines softness with inner strength. She wafts through the air like fine muslin. Determined to save Albrecht from the vengeful Wilis, she humbly but persistently pledges their queen Myrtha (Beatriz Paulino) for pity. For Vinícius Vieira’s Albrecht the loss of Giselle seems to have revealed the depth of his love to her. 8. H.de Castro (Hilarion) and ensemble, “Giselle” by L.van Cauwenbergh after J.Coralli and J.Perrot, São Paulo Dance Company 2021 © C.Lima9. C.Pegurelli (Giselle) and ensemble, “Giselle” by L.van Cauwenbergh after J.Coralli and J.Perrot, São Paulo Dance Company 2021 © C.LimaGrief stricken, he doesn’t hold back in showing his tender, caring affection. Paulino’s Myrtha is commanding up to her fingertips – a fascinatingly powerful queen! But don’t be misled by how supple and springily lightweight she moves! Implacability is written all over her face.

10. T.Prata (Giselle) and G.Moreira (Duke Albrecht), “Giselle” by L.van Cauwenbergh after J.Coralli and J.Perrot, São Paulo Dance Company 2021 © F.KirmayrThamiris Prata’s Giselle, seen on October 3rd, pours her heart into rescuing Albrecht (Geivison Moreira), pleading Myrtha (Luciana Davi) docilely for lenity. Giselle’s neat bouncy jumps and assured balances express her soul’s refinement. Lifted high above Albrecht’s head she seems as light as a feather. The way Moreira’s Albrecht approaches Giselle’s grave made me think of a statue of Dante. Albrecht’s reassurance after finding Giselle’s flowers stirs compassion. Hope and a faint smile flicker across his face as he faces the audience in the final scene. His assured jumps when forced to dance are monitored by no one except for two of the Wilis – Moyna (Luiza 11. L.Davi (Myrtha), “Giselle” by L.van Cauwenbergh after J.Coralli and J.Perrot, São Paulo Dance Company 2021 © F.Kirmayr12. Ensemble, “Giselle” by L.van Cauwenbergh after J.Coralli and J.Perrot, São Paulo Dance Company 2021 © F.KirmayrYuk) and Zulma (Ana Roberta Teixeira). How Myrtha senses when to turn round to Albrecht and re-enforce her order to continue can only be explained by her supernatural abilities. Davi’s Myrtha was so cold and rigid, that I was happy to see her shed the role and smile at the curtain call, revealing a glimpse of her true personality.

14. Ensemble, “Giselle” by L.van Cauwenbergh after J.Coralli and J.Perrot, São Paulo Dance Company 2021 © F.Kirmayr13. T.Prata (Giselle), G.Moreira (Duke Albrecht), L.Davi (Myrtha), and ensemble, “Giselle” by L.van Cauwenbergh after J.Coralli and J.Perrot, São Paulo Dance Company 2021 © F.KirmayrIn both performances, Hilarion was portrayed as a ballsy guy with a big heart (Hiago de Castro danced the role on October 2nd; Diego de Paula on October 3rd). It was hard to watch these seasoned men on their knees, begging for their life. Yuk and Teixeira danced Moyna and Zulma at both events, their brief solos illuminating the circumstances of their deaths. Zulma committed suicide by throwing herself from a cliff – hence a solo solo that features dramatic jumping. Moyna was trapped in the circular motion of a river current and drowned – leading her to perform beautifully curved reversees.
15. D.de Paula (Hilarion), L.Davi (Myrtha), and ensemble, “Giselle” by L.van Cauwenbergh after J.Coralli and J.Perrot, São Paulo Dance Company 2021 © F.Kirmayr16. D.de Paula (Hilarion), L.Davi (Myrtha), and ensemble, “Giselle” by L.van Cauwenbergh after J.Coralli and J.Perrot, São Paulo Dance Company 2021 © F.KirmayrThe twelve other Wilis that submissively follow Myrtha seem at first glance to be pristine beauties, but in fact make up a ruthless, vengeful brigade, their feet pounding the floor ceaselessly as they chase after their men. In the instant that they are able to separate Albrecht from Giselle’s protection, they circle and trap him swiftly, bending their upper bodies like hunters on the prowl.
For now, the company has no plans to stage a complete “Giselle” – but given their mastery of the challenging Act II, it may be worth it to rethink this decision.

17. Ensemble, “Agora” by C.Abranches, São Paulo Dance Company 2021 © F.Kirmayr“Giselle” was immediately followed by the twenty-minute-long “Agora” (meaning “now”). It opens with pairs of gleaming red pinpricks of light appearing on the pitch-black stage. Were they animals’ eyes? As the spots grow, it becomes clear that they are the reflections of red lighting on the dancers’ bodies. A metronome-like beat accompanies them, its tick-tock steadily accelerating (soundtrack by Sebastian Piracés). After a short blackout, off-white spotlights define spaces for each of the twelve dancers. They nervously shift their weight from one leg to the other, jogging in place before scattering across the stage, breaking out for solos, and joining one another for duets or group sequences.

18. L.Yuk and L.Barcelos, “Agora” by C.Abranches, São Paulo Dance Company 2021 © F.Kirmayr19. L.Yuk and L.Barcelos, “Agora” by C.Abranches, São Paulo Dance Company 2021 © F.KirmayrAbranches’s choreography interlaces swiftly moving groups with slowly moving ones. Some dancers walk, and others run forward or backwards and on or off stage. With regularity, women jump boldly into men’s arms, or switch roles, taking the lead. The energy of their movement flows naturally through their bodies, originating – for example – in the pelvis and running like a wave through the torso until petering out in a shake of the head. Again and again, the dancers thrust one hip as they step forward, reminding me of a young John Travolta playing the sexy macho man in tight hipster jeans. These twelve dancers, though, 21. Y.Suzuki, “Agora” by C.Abranches, São Paulo Dance Company 2021 © F.Kirmayr20. N.Souza, “Agora” by C.Abranches, São Paulo Dance Company 2021 © F.Kirmayraren’t wearing jeans, but instead wear earth-colored costumes – pants for the men and simple dresses for the women – designed by Janaína Castro. At times, the red lighting – sometimes dim and diffuse, sometimes rich and orangy – creates a nightclub-like atmosphere (lighting by Gabriel Pederneiras).

To the sound of an untuned piano, clittering crickets, and croaking frogs, a man and a woman meet for an erotic late-night pas de deux. Another woman, slowly circling around them, soon separates the couple, filling up the arena-like space with her solo. Later, vigorous percussion and howling squeaks drive the dancers into a quicker pace. In the final moments of the beating metronome, they return to their solitary spotlights, which switch off one after another.
22. Ensemble, “Agora” by C.Abranches, São Paulo Dance Company 2021 © F.Kirmayr

Links: Website of the São Paulo Dance Company
Photos: “Giselle”, October 2nd, 2021
1. Carolina Pegurelli (Giselle), “Giselle” by Lars van Cauwenbergh after Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot, São Paulo Dance Company 2021 © Charles Lima
2. Beatriz Paulino (Myrtha) and ensemble, “Giselle” by Lars van Cauwenbergh after Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot, São Paulo Dance Company 2021 © Charles Lima
3. Beatriz Paulino (Myrtha) and ensemble, “Giselle” by Lars van Cauwenbergh after Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot, São Paulo Dance Company 2021 © Charles Lima
4. Carolina Pegurelli (Giselle), Beatriz Paulino (Myrtha), and ensemble, “Giselle” by Lars van Cauwenbergh after Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot, São Paulo Dance Company 2021 © Charles Lima
5. Vinícius Vieira (Duke Albrecht), Carolina Pegurelli (Giselle), Beatriz Paulino (Myrtha), and ensemble, “Giselle” by Lars van Cauwenbergh after Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot, São Paulo Dance Company 2021 © Charles Lima
6. Vinícius Vieira (Duke Albrecht), Carolina Pegurelli (Giselle), and ensemble, “Giselle” by Lars van Cauwenbergh after Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot, São Paulo Dance Company 2021 © Charles Lima
7. Vinícius Vieira (Duke Albrecht) and ensemble, “Giselle” by Lars van Cauwenbergh after Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot, São Paulo Dance Company 2021 © Charles Lima
8. Hiago de Castro (Hilarion) and ensemble, “Giselle” by Lars van Cauwenbergh after Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot, São Paulo Dance Company 2021 © Charles Lima
9. Carolina Pegurelli (Giselle) and ensemble, “Giselle” by Lars van Cauwenbergh after Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot, São Paulo Dance Company 2021 © Charles Lima
“Giselle”, October 3rd, 2021
10. Thamiris Prata (Giselle) and Geivison Moreira (Duke Albrecht), “Giselle” by Lars van Cauwenbergh after Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot, São Paulo Dance Company 2021 © Fernanda Kirmayr
11. Luciana Davi (Myrtha), “Giselle” by Lars van Cauwenbergh after Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot, São Paulo Dance Company 2021 © Fernanda Kirmayr
12. Ensemble, “Giselle” by Lars van Cauwenbergh after Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot, São Paulo Dance Company 2021 © Fernanda Kirmayr
13. Thamiris Prata (Giselle), Geivison Moreira (Duke Albrecht), Luciana Davi (Myrtha), and ensemble, “Giselle” by Lars van Cauwenbergh after Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot, São Paulo Dance Company 2021 © Fernanda Kirmayr
14. Ensemble, “Giselle” by Lars van Cauwenbergh after Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot, São Paulo Dance Company 2021 © Fernanda Kirmayr
15. Diego de Paula (Hilarion), Luciana Davi (Myrtha), and ensemble, “Giselle” by Lars van Cauwenbergh after Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot, São Paulo Dance Company 2021 © Fernanda Kirmayr
16. Diego de Paula (Hilarion), Luciana Davi (Myrtha), and ensemble, “Giselle” by Lars van Cauwenbergh after Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot, São Paulo Dance Company 2021 © Fernanda Kirmayr
“Agora”
17. Ensemble, “Agora” by Cassi Abranches, São Paulo Dance Company 2021 © Fernanda Kirmayr
18. Luiza Yuk and Luan Barcelos, “Agora” by Cassi Abranches, São Paulo Dance Company 2021 © Fernanda Kirmayr
19. Luiza Yuk and Luan Barcelos, “Agora” by Cassi Abranches, São Paulo Dance Company 2021 © Fernanda Kirmayr
20. Nielson Souza, “Agora” by Cassi Abranches, São Paulo Dance Company 2021 © Fernanda Kirmayr
21. Yoshi Suzuki, “Agora” by Cassi Abranches, São Paulo Dance Company 2021 © Fernanda Kirmayr
22. Ensemble, “Agora” by Cassi Abranches, São Paulo Dance Company 2021 © Fernanda Kirmayr
Editing: Jake Stepansky

Giving Back

“Creare Crescere”
Stuttgart Ballet / Escuela Superior de Música y Danza de Monterrey
Stuttgart, Germany / Monterrey, Mexico
September 25, 2021

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2021 by Ilona Landgraf

1. Escuela Superior de Música y Danza de Monterrey 2021 © Escuela Superior de Música y Danza de MonterreyRocío Alemán, principal dancer of the Stuttgart Ballet, started her dance education in 2003 at the Escuela Superior de Música y Danza de Monterrey in her hometown of Monterrey, Mexico. In 2008, she moved to Stuttgart, where she finished her studies at the John Cranko School. After carving out a successful career for herself, she thought it time to thank her school in Monterrey for what it has given her. Her plan was to invite ten graduate students from Monterrey to visit the Stuttgart Ballet and work with dancers-cum-choreographers (of which the Stuttgart company, thanks to their annual choreographic workshops, has many) – but the plan was thwarted by COVID-19. Still, Alemán didn’t give up, adjusting her project to the new circumstances. If students and choreographers couldn’t meet in person, (more…)

Unparalleled

“TOER” (“Lucifer Studies” / “7th Symphony”)
Dutch National Ballet
Dutch National Opera & Ballet
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
September 25, 2021 (live stream)

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2021 by Ilona Landgraf

1. M. ten Kortenaar and T. van Poucke, “Lucifer Studies” by T. van Schayk, Dutch National Ballet 2021 © H. Gerritsen “Unparalleled.”
That’s how Ted Brandsen, artistic director of the Dutch National Ballet, described Toer van Schayk – Holland’s renowned multi-disciplinary artist. van Schayk, who celebrated his eighty-fifth birthday earlier this month, has excelled across a broad spectrum: as a dancer, choreographer, set and costume designer, painter, and sculptor. His knowledge of the history of the arts combined with his wholehearted dedication to his craft and persistent motivation to create make him one-of-a-kind in the field. Though he has been a pillar of the Dutch National Ballet since its founding, his pieces have rarely been scheduled in recent years – and so it was most welcome that this year’s 60th anniversary season opened with the double bill “TOER”. It consisted of van Schayk’s much-acclaimed “7th Symphony” (1986) and a new ballet titled “Lucifer Studies”. I watched the live-stream on September 25th; it will be repeated on October 6th, 2021. (more…)

Comparisons

“Tänze Bilder Sinfonien” (“Symphony in Three Movements” / “Pictures at an Exhibition” / “Sinfonie Nr. 15”)
Vienna State Ballet
Vienna State Opera
Vienna, Austria
September 21, 2021 (live stream)

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2021 by Ilona Landgraf

1. K.Hashimoto, D.Dato, A.Firenze, and D.Tariello, “Symphony in Three Movements” by G.Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust, Vienna State Ballet 2021 © Vienna State Ballet / A.TaylorThe Vienna State Ballet opened their season with a revival of “Tänze Bilder Sinfonien”, a triple bill that premiered in June. It is comprised of two ballets originally created for the New York City Ballet: Balanchine’s “Symphony in Three Movements” from 1972 and Ratmansky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” from 2014. The third choreography – “Sinfonie Nr. 15” – was a new piece by Martin Schläpfer (formerly the artistic director and choreographer of the Ballet am Rhein; currently in the same positions at the State Ballet Vienna). I viewed the live-stream of the performance on September 21, 2021.

“Symphony in Three Movements”, set to Stravinsky’s eponymous composition, is Balanchine’s tribute to the composer following the latter’s death in 1971. (more…)

Blabla Or Food For Thought?

“Blitirí”
Ballet of the State Theater Nuremberg
State Theater
Nuremberg, Germany
July 25, 2021 (online)

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2021 by Ilona Landgraf

1. E.Nunes, O.Alonso, S.Vervaecke, C.Blanco, V.Ketelslegers, A.Fernández, A.Tavares, J.Toscano, and S.Tozzi, “Blitirí” by G.Montero, Ballet of the State Theater Nuremberg 2021 © J.VallinasBlitirí is a term used in medieval time for something that has no meaning,” explains Goyo Montero, choreographer and artistic director of the State Theater Nuremberg’s ballet ensemble. He compares the word to jovial “blabla”. Indeed, his new choreography for “Blitirí” revolves around joy – at least, almost entirely.
Though originally planned as a solely digital project, the 25-minute piece premiered on July 10th to a live audience at Nuremberg’s State Theater as part of the triple bill “Goecke / Godani / Montero”. A few weeks later, Stefan Kleeberger and Montero realized the initial plan by releasing a filmed version that is available on the company’s YouTube channel. (more…)

Amsterdam’s Dance Students

“Dancers of Tomorrow”
Dutch National Ballet Academy
Dutch National Opera & Ballet
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
July 10/11, 2021 (video)

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2021 by Ilona Landgraf

1. Students of the Dutch National Ballet Academy, “10 Years Tailor-Made” by I.Lešić, Dutch National Ballet Academy 2021 © S.Derine End-of-year performances are a highlight for the students of any ballet school. Last weekend, the Dutch National Ballet Academy performed “Dancers of Tomorrow” on the main stage of the Dutch National Opera & Ballet for an empty auditorium due, sadly, to ongoing COVID-19-restrictions. The silver lining: a video of the performance, augmented by footage from backstage, was streamed online for two days, allowing a much larger audience to see the work. I wonder: could we include online streams and video broadcasts as a standard addendum to live performances in the future?

“Dancers of Tomorrow” was assembled from ten pieces geared to the students’ age groups and adapted or created especially for the occasion. All students participated. (more…)

A Journey Through Time

“Beauty Mixed Programme”
The Royal Ballet
Royal Opera House
London, Great Britain
July 09, 2021 (live stream)

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2021 by Ilona Landgraf

1. F.Hayward and C.Coralles, “Morgen” by W.McGregor, The Royal Ballet 2021 © A.Uspenski Ninety years ago, Ninette de Valois founded the Vic-Wells Ballet, which would later birth today’s Royal Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet. The Royal Ballet celebrated the anniversary with a mixed bill that linked the past and the present, showcasing works by two pillars of the repertory – the late Frederick Ashton and Kenneth MacMillan – and works by resident choreographer Wayne McGregor, artistic associate Christopher Wheeldon, principal dancer-cum-choreographer Valentino Zucchetti, and Arthur Pita. The crown jewel of the program (more…)

“And I Have So Much to Say, But…”

“Sleeping Woman”
Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch
Opera House
Wuppertal, Germany
July 02, 2021 (online)

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2021 by Ilona Landgraf

1. T.-C.Yu and ensemble, “Sleeping Woman” by R.Behr, Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch 2021 © E.RodoulisPina Bausch was the heart of Tanztheater Wuppertal – and since her premature death in 2009, the company has struggled to find new leadership to shape its artistic future. The termination of Adolphe Binder’s contract as intendant and artistic director in 2018 – after only one year in office – was followed by a two-year lawsuit between her and the theater. Although Binder won the suit (and the matter was settled out of court), Binder waived her claim to the post, making way for Bettina Wagner-Bergelt. (more…)

Exploring a Romantic Dream

“Les Sylphides” (“Chopiniana”)
São Paulo Dance Company
Teatro Sérgio Cardoso
São Paulo, Brazil
June 25, 2021 (video)

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2021 by Ilona Landgraf

1. T.Prata, V.Vieira, and L.Yuk, “Les Sylphides” by A.Botafogo after M.Fokin, São Paulo Dance Company 2021 © F.KirmayrThe COVID-19 pandemic compelled the São Paulo Dance Company to postpone this June’s run of “Giselle” to September. In its place, the company has offered another gem from the romantic repertory: Mikhail Fokin’s “Les Sylphides”, newly revised by Ana Botafogo, a Brazilian actress and former principal of the Theatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro. The performance on June 18th – attended by a live audience and broadcast online on June 25th – was presented as part of the company’s educational program and followed by a 30-minute lecture about the piece and its production. (more…)

Two Dutch Premieres

“Four Seasons” (“The Two Of Us” / “The Four Seasons”)
Dutch National Ballet
Dutch National Opera & Ballet
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
June 15, 2021 (live broadcast)

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2021 by Ilona Landgraf

1. A.Tsygankova and C.Allen, “The Two Of Us” by C.Wheeldon, Dutch National Ballet 2021 © H.GerritsenJust one week after the premiere of “Prometheus”, the Dutch National Ballet premiered a second program as part of the annual Holland Festival: “Four Seasons” – a double bill comprised of Christopher Wheeldon’s “The Two Of Us” and David Dawson’s “The Four Seasons”. Two dance films created by members of the company during last year’s lockdown – “Oblivion” and “The Garden” – were shown during the break. The performance was attended by a live audience and, in addition, broadcast online.

“The Two Of Us” premiered at New York City Center’s 2020 Fall for Dance festival and paired New York City Ballet’s principal Sara Means and David Hallberg, close friends who’d never before had the chance to dance together. In Amsterdam, the duet was performed by Anna Tsygankova and Constantine Allen, depicting two tender souls unsure whether to stay together or to part.

As the curtain opens, Tsygankova is seated on the floor, her elbow resting pensively upon her knee. Allen kneels behind her, his hand touching her shoulder. He begins to walk away from her, and at that exact moment we hear the first sounds of a melancholic guitar strummed by Joni Mitchell. “I don’t know where I stand,” Mitchell sings, verbalizing Tsykankova’s state of being. (more…)

Joint Venture

“Come In” / “Inquieto”
Ballett am Rhein / São Paulo Dance Company
Düsseldorf, Germany / São Paulo, Brazil
June 11, 2021 (online)

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2021 by Ilona Landgraf

1. G.Carvalho, “Come In” by A.Barton, Ballett am Rhein 2021 © B.StößDemis Volpi, artistic director of the Ballett am Rhein, and Inês Bogéa, the same at the São Paulo Dance Company, have known each other for years. This June, their professional relationship yielded a joint video release that featured one ensemble piece by each company. The video was available on the Ballett am Rhein’s YouTube channel from June 11-13 and can be re-watched there from June 18-20.

The Ballet am Rhein contributed a modified-for-2021 version of “Come In”, a piece for twelve men choreographed in 2006 by Aszure Barton for Mikhail Baryshnikov and Hell’s Kitchen Dance. (more…)

A Strong Comeback

“Beethoven” (“Prometheus” / “Grosse Fuge”)
Dutch National Ballet
Dutch National Opera & Ballet
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
June 08, 2021 (live broadcast)

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2021 by Ilona Landgraf

1. S.Yamada, D.Silva, and ensemble, “Prometheus” by W.Kuindersma, E.Meisner, and R.Wörtmeyer, Dutch National Ballet 2021 © H.GerritsenThe Dutch National Ballet’s celebration of Beethoven’s 250th birthday was, in fact, supposed to premiere a year ago. “We’re a little bit late,” admitted Ted Brandsen, Dutch National Ballet’s artistic director, for reasons dictated by COVID-19. The originally scheduled program would have included Toer van Schayk’s “7th Symphony”. The anniversary program that was ultimately shown on June 8th was an adaption of this program comprised of two pieces: “Prometheus” (a new creation by the choreographer-trio Wubkje Kuindersma, Ernst Meisner, and Remi Wörtmeyer) and Hans van Manen’s “Grosse Fuge”. The break was used for an excursion away from Beethoven to Milena Sidorova’s recently released dance film “Rose”. (more…)

Meager Substance

“Dance Gala Baden-Wuerttemberg”
Theater and Orchestra Heidelberg
Heidelberg, Germany
June 06, 2021 (online)

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2021 by Ilona Landgraf

1. I.Pérez, artistic director of the Dance Biennial Heidelberg and the Dance Theater Heidelberg © S.Reichardt“Everybody Can Dance” was the motto of this year’s Dance Biennial Heidelberg, the fourth since the event’s inception. Pandemic-related restrictions pared down the three-day festival’s schedule to a few online events, crowned by a dance gala on Sunday, June 6th. Nine of Baden-Wuerttemberg’s dance companies were represented there, together contributing thirteen short pieces – nine digital and four danced live.

The Unterwegstheater Heidelberg, a small touring company whose work spans multiple genres opened the program with the video “Die nackte Wahrheit” (“The Naked Truth”). (more…)

Incongruent

“Lyssa”
The Royal Ballet & Nadine Shah
Royal Opera House
London, Great Britain
June 04, 2021 (dance film)

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2021 by Ilona Landgraf

1. N.Shah and artists of the the Royal Ballet in “Lyssa” by L.Page, The Royal Ballet 2021 © A.Verzhbinsky In late 2019, the British choreographer Lynne Page created “Death in Venice” for the Royal Opera. “Lyssa”, a twenty-or-so-minute film, features her first-ever choreography for the Royal Ballet. After a year of pandemic-induced artistic drought (and a severe lack of live music), she felt that the time was ripe for arts institutions to tackle new genres in order to reach new audiences. This project, a merger between song and dance, brings together the English singer / songwriter Nadine Shah and seventeen female dancers from the Royal Ballet. Shah sings “Trad” from her 2020 album “Kitchen Sink”, a less-than-four-minute song with very few lyrics, which has been extended to fifteen minutes in a new version featuring the orchestra of the Royal Opera House. (more…)

The Royal Ballet Re-Opens

“21st-Century Choreographers”
(“Within the Golden Hour” / Optional Family: A Divertissement” / “The Statement” / “Solo Echo”)

The Royal Ballet
Royal Opera House
London, Great Britain
May 28, 2021 (online)

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2021 by Ilona Landgraf

1. Artists of the Royal Ballet, “Within the Golden Hour” by C.Wheeldon, The Royal Ballet 2021 © B.Cooper Over half a year ago, pandemic-related restrictions forced the Royal Opera House to close its doors. On May 18th, a limited audience was finally welcomed back to see the company live on stage. The program – “21st-Century Choreographers” – consisted of four pieces: “Within the Golden Hour” by Christopher Wheeldon; “Optional Family: A Divertissement” – a new piece by Kyle Abraham; and two pieces by Crystal Pite: “The Statement” and “Solo Echo”. (more…)