Tag Archive: Jake Stepansky

Jittery

“A Wilde Story”
State Ballet Hanover
Opera House Hanover
Hanover, Germany
November 20, 2022

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

1. M.Chelucci (The Art of Writing), “A Wilde Story” by M.Goecke, State Ballet Hanover 2022 © B.Stöß2. C.Francis-Martin (Oscar Wilde), “A Wilde Story” by M.Goecke, State Ballet Hanover 2022 © B.StößMarco Goecke recently added the German magazine tanz’s “Choreographer of 2021” award and the 2022 German Dance Prize to his collection. Last month, he presented a new ballet at the State Ballet Hanover, which he has helmed as artistic director since 2019. “A Wilde Story” plays with the life and work of Oscar Wilde. I was curious to see whether or not the story was, in fact, wild.

The evening opens not with Wilde, but with a bare-chested Michelangelo Chelucci, who jerks open and closes off his muscular torso, arms plowing through the air. His feet scurry zealously this way and that as he elegantly lifts his black, floor-length skirt. A glance at the program book reveals that Chelucci personifies the art of writing. Behind him, black-clad dancers hustle from one side of the stage to the other, comic figures in fast-forward, shaking their fists. Their steps stir up dust that gradually blurs our view of the grainy facade of a stately gray mansion (set and costumes by Marvin Ott). Though the pulsing rock of The Smashing Pumpkins’ “Tonight Tonight” suggests otherwise, we’re in Victorian England. “Believe in me,” they sing – but at whom does this line aim? Are we to believe in the power of art in general, in Goecke’s artistry, or Wilde’s himself? Wilde (Conal Francis-Martin) appears several seconds later, sitting and occasionally 3. D.Sioni (Prince) and C.Pareo (Swallow), “A Wilde Story” by M.Goecke, State Ballet Hanover 2022 © B.Stößsleeping on the floor. Only the call of a trumpet (playing a composition by Jules Massenet) prompts him to bustle about, his hands fluttering. Stricken by inspiration, he tenses, only relaxing when together with his wife Constance (Giada Zanotti). We watch Wilde achieve fame – but as the applause becomes ear-piercing, his movements stiffen. Later, we learn about the author’s intense romance with Alfred – “Bosie” – Douglas (Rosario Guerra), which – clashing with the Victorian code of ethics – gets Wilde sentenced for sodomy. In the moment that the verdict is rendered, the stately mansion collapses to the ground, revealing the meager wooden scaffolding holding the fake facade upright.

The two years in penitentiary that follow will see Wilde’s health and mind ruined. Before we go there, let’s have a look at the scenes that Goecke chose to adapt from the author’s oeuvre. As one might expect, we encounter Dorian Gray (Nikita Zdravkovic) whose picture by the painter Basil (Javier Ubell) ages in place of him – a process cleverly visualized by Goecke. There’s also the statue of the Happy Prince (Davide Sioni) who – aided by a black-feathered swallow (Chiara Pareo) – sacrifices his sapphire eyes (symbolized by swanky rings) for a crying woman (Marta Cerioli). Maurus Gauthier, mixing among the dancers while reciting parts of the story, helps us to understand the goings-on.
4. M.Cerioli (The Crying Woman), “A Wilde Story” by M.Goecke, State Ballet Hanover 2022 © B.Stöß5. J.Ubell (Basil) and N.Zdravkovic (Dorian Gray), “A Wilde Story” by M.Goecke, State Ballet Hanover 2022 © B.StößIn “The Nightingale and the Rose”, Özkan Ayik – chest painted with black thorny branches – plays a young man seeking a red rose for his beloved maid. Two women together depict the nightingale, which in Wilde’s version spills its own blood to help the rose grow: Chiara Pareo, swapping her swallow costume for a black skirt, and soprano Kiandra Howarth, whose “Joy, that near to me remained” from Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s opera “The Dead City” accompanies the bird’s death. From the pornographic novel “Teleny, Or the Reverse of the Medal” (which is often attributed to Wilde) Goecke distilled the affair of the gay couple Teleny (Louis Steinmetz) and Camille (Maurus Gauthier), explicitly showing their sexual desire. The only scene I struggled to recognize was “The Birthday of the Infanta”.

7. Ö.Ayik (Man in Love) and G.Zanotti (Nightingale), “A Wilde Story” by M.Goecke, State Ballet Hanover 2022 © B.Stöß 6. G.Zanotti (Nightingale), “A Wilde Story” by M.Goecke, State Ballet Hanover 2022 © B.StößIn the final scene, the imprisoned Wilde stands frozen on the ground, holding two blackened papers that rustle in his incessantly trembling hand (perhaps representing the letters he wrote to Bosie, which were published years later under the title “De Profundis”). Visibly tormented, teeth clenched, left hand groping in vain towards freedom, Wilde seems to find no escape. In the very last moment, though, Gauthier returns, walking around the scaffolding, his happy-go-lucky whistling evoking the tweets and trills of a free bird.

8. C.Francis-Martin (Oscar Wilde), “A Wilde Story” by M.Goecke, State Ballet Hanover 2022 © B.Stöß9. L.Steinmetz (Teleny) and C.Francis-Martin (Oscar Wilde), “A Wilde Story” by M.Goecke, State Ballet Hanover 2022 © B.StößWith Goecke’s 2016 “Nijinski” on my mind, I was skeptical that Goecke could do justice to this and other story ballets. In my opinion, his choreographic toolbox – though expanded over time – is still too limited to carve out distinct characters. Given the inclusion of Gauthier as a narrator and much more spoken (though sometimes incomprehensible) text – Goecke may be aware of the clarification that his choreography sometimes requires. For eagle-eyed onlookers who could follow every detail of the hyper-tense jerks and galvanic spasms, who might hold their breath when limbs slice the air with stupendous speed, who marvel at gaping jaws and silent screams and steely muscles snapping into accurate positions – for those folks, the seventy-five minutes of “A Wilde 11. R.Guerra (Alfred Douglas) and C.Francis-Martin (Oscar Wilde), “A Wilde Story” by M.Goecke, State Ballet Hanover 2022 © B.Stöß10. R.Guerra (Alfred Douglas) and C.Francis-Martin (Oscar Wilde), “A Wilde Story” by M.Goecke, State Ballet Hanover 2022 © B.StößStory” were exciting. Audience members interested in a more broad view might find that this new ballet looks similar to previous ones by Goecke. One thing, though, is indisputable: the Hanover company has taken his style to a new, powerful level.
They were accompanied by the State Orchestra of Lower Saxony, playing under the baton of the dynamic James Hendry.

Links: Website of the State Ballet Hanover
“A Wilde Story” – Teaser
“A Wilde Story” – Trailer
Photos: The photos show a partially different cast from an earlier performance.
1. Michelangelo Chelucci (The Art of Writing), “A Wilde Story” by Marco Goecke, State Ballet Hanover 2022
2. Conal Francis-Martin (Oscar Wilde), “A Wilde Story” by Marco Goecke, State Ballet Hanover 2022
3. Davide Sioni (Prince) and Chiara Pareo (Swallow), “A Wilde Story” by Marco Goecke, State Ballet Hanover 2022
4. Marta Cerioli (The Crying Woman), “A Wilde Story” by Marco Goecke, State Ballet Hanover 2022
5. Javier Ubell (Basil) and Nikita Zdravkovic (Dorian Gray), “A Wilde Story” by Marco Goecke, State Ballet Hanover 2022
6. Giada Zanotti (Nightingale), “A Wilde Story” by Marco Goecke, State Ballet Hanover 2022
7. Özkan Ayik (Man in Love) and Giada Zanotti (Nightingale), “A Wilde Story” by Marco Goecke, State Ballet Hanover 2022
8. Conal Francis-Martin (Oscar Wilde), “A Wilde Story” by Marco Goecke, State Ballet Hanover 2022
9. Louis Steinmetz (Teleny) and Conal Francis-Martin (Oscar Wilde), “A Wilde Story” by Marco Goecke, State Ballet Hanover 2022
10. Rosario Guerra (Alfred Douglas) and Conal Francis-Martin (Oscar Wilde), “A Wilde Story” by Marco Goecke, State Ballet Hanover 2022
11. Rosario Guerra (Alfred Douglas) and Conal Francis-Martin (Oscar Wilde), “A Wilde Story” by Marco Goecke, State Ballet Hanover 2022
all photos © Bettina Stöß
Editing: Jake Stepansky

Refreshing

“Peer Gynt”
Maribor Slovene National Theatre
Forum Ludwigsburg
Ludwigsburg, Germany
November 11, 2022

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

1. M.Isailovic (Peer Gynt) and ensemble, “Peer Gynt” by E.Clug, Maribor Slovene National Theatre 2022 © SNG MariborEdward Clug, the artistic director of the Slovene National Theatre’s ballet company, is currently creating a new “Nutcracker” for the Stuttgart Ballet – but, in the meantime, his own Maribor company has joined him in nearby Ludwigsburg. This weekend, they toured the Ludwigsburg Forum with Clug’s 2015 take on Henrik Ibsen’s “Peer Gynt”.

Ibsen’s happy-go-lucky peasant’s son Peer is quite the ambiguous figure. It’s easy to dismiss him as a narcissistic slacker and gascon. He never misses a chance to womanize or to seek trouble as he gads about Norway’s mountains. The splendid future that he imagines in his fantasy fails to become a reality. The wealth that he gains abroad does not make him lucky at home. His dream of becoming a crowned king (or emperor?) materializes, but only as an inmate in a Cairo madhouse. Old and feeble, he returns home in an effort to save his own soul. Only in the very last moment does he realize that he would have been much better off staying with his early love, Solveig. But why are we sympathetic to Peer rather than disliking him? (more…)

Haunting

Artur Babajanyan, Arshak Ghalumyan, Arman Grigoryan, Vahe Martirosyan, Arsen Mehrabyan, Tigran Mikayelyan:
“Forceful Feelings”
118 pages, colored and b/w photos
confident Markenkommunikation Winterthur / Switzerland
October 2022

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

1. H.Spoerli, T.Mikayelyan, V.Martirosyan, A.Grigoryan, A.Mehrabyan, and guest dancers, Forceful Feelings, photo by courtesy of T.Mikayelyan © T.Mikayelyan“I can’t do this.”
Thus opens Forceful Feelings – a book by six Armenian-born dancers: Artur Babajanyan, Arshak Ghalumyan, Arman Grigoryan, Vahe Martirosyan, Arsen Mehrabyan, and Tigran Mikayelyan. This sentence heralded the disbanding of their company – the Forceful Feelings of the title – spelled out by their oldest member, Tigran. This was July of 2019, minutes before the curtain rose on a performance at the Pjazza Teatru Rjal in Malta. It was the last show Forceful Feelings would ever perform. The book, compiled by their mutual friend François Chappuis, assembles individual memories that trace back the paths that led to this finale.
The six boys, as they call each other, have a lot in common. Each of them was trained at the Yerevan National Ballet School and pursued a career in the West. Each of them struggled, some to the point of questioning whether a career in ballet was worth it at all. No one gave up. They were supported in their work by their close friendships (from boyhood) and the unvarying support and guidance provided by their parents. Artur’s father, for example, did not allow his son to quit after failing a few exams: “It’s okay to drop out. But not this way! Prove one thing before you quit: prove to them that you can dance. Don’t let them decide that. It’s not the circumstances that choose your fate – it’s you.” Artur took the challenge, throwing himself into the training – and it paid off. In 2003, he had already trained in Zurich. (more…)

Unpalatable

“The Sleeping Beauty”
Vienna State Ballet
Vienna State Opera
Vienna, Austria
October 24, 2022 (livestream)

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

1. J.Carroll (Catalabutte) and ensemble, “The Sleeping Beauty” by M.Schläpfer and M.Petipa, Vienna State Ballet 2022 © Vienna State Ballet / A.TaylorA few months before the premiere of his “Sleeping Beauty” with the Vienna State Ballet, artistic director Martin Schläpfer stated that he did not intend to alter Petipa’s original – that he was not creating something “a bit Schläpfer and a bit Petipa”. There are already enough of these blended works in the canon; instead of adding another, he preferred to stick with the original. Back then, though, he did not have a detailed vision for his production. So – how did his version finally turn out?

I’ll make one thing immediately clear: Schläpfer did not deliver a radically new take on the fairy tale. The three-acter still unfolds at court, includes the key characters, and follows the well-known storyline. Florian Etti’s modern and unsophisticated set includes an open yard looking out on a king-sized garden of red roses. Nestled among the twigs is the crib of the newborn Aurora, her birth an airy dream. (more…)

Galvanizing

“Romeo and Juliet”
The Australian Ballet
Arts Centre Melbourne / State Theatre
Melbourne, Australia
October 18, 2022 (livestream)

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

 1. A.Harris (Lady Capulet) and S.Spencer (Juliet), “Romeo and Juliet” by J.Cranko, The Australian Ballet 2022 © J.BusbyEach of the three livestreams I’ve watched from the Australian Ballet so far have proven that the company’s standards are high. The most recent – John Cranko’s “Romeo and Juliet” – left me flabbergasted. I’ve seen Cranko’s 1962 version a few times, since Stuttgart Ballet (where the largest part of his oeuvre was created) regularly revives the star-crossed lovers’ tragedy. It’s a pillar of their repertoire. But compared to the work that the Australian Ballet delivered in Melbourne, Stuttgart’s performances pale. From the first moment that the first maid set foot in Verona’s marketplace, it was clear that the Australian Ballet was performing on an entirely different level.

Artistic director David Hallberg, who co-hosted the livestream together with Catherine Murphy, was correct in noting that “we look good on screens all over the world tonight”. Dance, set, costumes, lighting – everything was perfect. (more…)

Sensitive

“North Korea Dance”
Eun-Me Ahn Company
Forum Ludwigsburg
Ludwigsburg, Germany
October 15, 2022

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

1. Ensemble, “North Korea Dance” by E.-M.Ahn, Eun-Me Ahn Company 2022 © J.-M.ChabotLast season, Eun-Me Ahn Company’s visit to Ludwigsburg fell victim to COVID-19. This October, the South Korean troupe made up for the cancelation by offering two performances of “North Korea Dance” at the Forum Ludwigsburg.
The Seoul-born Eun-Me Ahn studied dance in her home country and in New York. After returning home, she took the reins at the Daegu City Dance Company, Korea’s first national contemporary dance ensemble. In 1988, Ahn founded the Eun-Me Ahn Company, which has been a regular guest on western stages.
Little is known about dance in North Korea. To change this and to explore the common roots of North and South Korean dance, Ahn consulted the internet. Based on the dance videos from North Korea available online, she created her own interpretation of the neighboring country’s dance culture. The final product: a ninety-minute revue-like journey through time. (more…)

Unwieldy

“Cri de cœur”
Paris Opera Ballet
Palais Garnier
Paris, France
October 01, 2022 (matinee)

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

1. M.Barbeau, “Cri de cœur” by A.L.Øyen, Paris Opera Ballet 2022 © A.PoupeneyAlan Lucien Øyen: not a particularly familiar name to dance audiences outside of his home country of Norway – but his new creation “Cri de cœur” (“Cry of the Heart”) for the Paris Opera Ballet will soon change that.
Øyen grew up in Bergen, where he was introduced to the theater at the young age of seven. He received his dance training at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts and subsequently joined contemporary ensembles in Norway and Cologne. In 2004, Øyen turned to choreography; two years later, he founded Winter Guests, an interdisciplinary touring company. I missed his 2018 “Bon Voyage, Bob” at the Tanztheather Wuppertal and was curious to finally learn about his work in Paris.

To start, dance is not the most important ingredient of “Cri de cœur”. Acting, singing, and film are all featured – and, in particular, there is a great deal of spoken text in French written by Øyen and Andrew Wale. That’s a major difference from the dance theater of Pina Bausch, in whose footsteps Øyen is said to follow. (more…)

Borrowed Dreams

“Nachtträume”
Ballet Zurich
Opernhaus Zurich
Zurich, Switzerland
September 30, 2022

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

1. Ensemble, “Nachtträume” by M.Morau, Ballet Zurich 2022 © G.BatardonWhile many companies revive earlier ballets to warm up for a new season, the Ballet Zurich offered a premiere right away. The new one-act piece – “Nachtträume” – is Marcos Morau’s first creation for the company. The Spanish-born Morau has never danced professionally, but studied choreography, photography, dramaturgy and theory of the drama and runs the Barcelona-based company “La Veronal”.

Hidden desires, dark fantasies, and – above all – themes of power and subordination make up the fabric of Morau’s gloomy dreams. His point of reference is Kurt Jooss’s “The Green Table”, a piece from 1932 that depicts ten diplomats bargaining about peace and war. It is a timely choice. Like Jooss, Morau uses a table – but his is round, much larger, and able to rotate, allowing for huge meetings. However, the office workers that tentatively crawl out from under the table are not string-pullers but underlings. (more…)

Happy Eightieth!

“Egon Madsen 80”
Theaterhaus Stuttgart
Stuttgart, Germany
September 28, 2022

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

1. E.Madsen, “Egon Madsen 80”, Theaterhaus Stuttgart 2022 © J.BakEgon Madsen has been a foundational figure in Stuttgart’s ballet and theater world for close to his entire career. He gave his stage debut at the young age of ten in a children’s ballet in his home country of Denmark. Nine years later (in 1961) he joined the Stuttgart Ballet under the newly appointed John Cranko. Key roles in Cranko’s signature pieces were choreographed on Madsen during a period dubbed the “Stuttgart Ballet Miracle”. After Cranko’s death, Madsen stayed with the Stuttgart Ballet until 1981. In the years that followed, he helmed several companies (the Frankfurt Ballet, the Royal Swedish Ballet, and the Ballet of the Teatro Communale/Florence) before becoming Marcia Haydée’s assistant director at Stuttgart and serving as ballet master in Stuttgart and Leipzig. In 1999 – at age fifty-seven – he returned to the stage with Nederlands Dans Theater’s NDT III. He also served as the troupe’s teacher and rehearsal director until it disbanded in 2006. One year later, Madsen returned to Stuttgart as a driving force behind Eric Gauthier’s newly established Gauthier Dance Company at the Theaterhaus. In addition to dancing in numerous Theaterhaus productions (most recently “Greyhounds” in 2015), Madsen also coached and trained the dancers. Since 2014, he has forayed into play-acting; his solo evening “King Lear”, choreographed by Mauro Bigonzetti, can be seen at the Theaterhaus for a final time this November. (more…)

After All

“Giselle”
State Ballet Berlin
Staatsoper unter den Linden
Berlin, Germany
September 18, 2022

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

1. K.Ovsyanick (Giselle), D.Motta Soares (Duke Albrecht), and ensemble, “Giselle” by P.Bart after J.Coralli and J.Perrot, State Ballet Berlin 2022 © M.KulchytskaDavid Motta Soares honed his artistic skills under the watchful eyes of the teachers at the Bolshoi Ballet. This spring, he joined the State Ballet Berlin as a principal dancer, and in June he gave his debut as Prince Désiré in Marcia Haydée’s “The Sleeping Beauty” alongside Ksenia Ovsyanick’s Princess Aurora. Last Sunday, the two again shared the stage as the leading couple in Patrice Bart’s rendition of “Giselle”. How did they fare?
Albrecht and Giselle’s romance, unfolding under the warm autumn sun shining on mother Berthe’s quaint cottage yard (set and costumes by Peter Farmer), was not as sweet as expected. In Moscow, Motta Soares had danced Albrecht in Yuri Grigorovich’s “Giselle”. Bart’s version was new for him and his Albrecht here – cocksure and confident – flitted between gentle wooing and impatient attempts at taking. In certain moments he stood with his arms crossed, signaling reserve. After two botched tours en l’air, Motta Soares seemed slightly unsettled. Though he made a decent showing by the end of his second solo (Pas de vendanges), its piecemeal choreography – involving a great deal of jumping back and forth, as if drunk on infatuation and indecisive about which direction to move – offered little chance to shine. (more…)

Kylián Samples

“Bridges of Time”
Czech National Ballet
The National Theatre
Prague, Czech Republic
September 03, 2022

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

1. R.Cuadrado, L.Balogová, and A.Petit, ”Bella Figura” by J.Kylián, Czech National Ballet 2022 © S.Gherciu Theaters in the crisis-ridden EU face difficult times as soaring maintenance costs join the ever-present fear of declining ticket sales. Last Saturday, though, matters seemed to be in order at Prague’s National Theatre. Despite the approximately 70.000 protesters who hit the streets of Prague in the afternoon to demonstrate against skyrocketing energy prices and inflation, the evening performance of the all-Jiří Kylián bill “Bridges of Time” was well-attended – and well-received.

Typically, most theaters pick the same, better known titles from Kylián’s massive (over one-hundred-piece-strong) oeuvre. The Czech National Ballet’s artistic director Filip Barankiewicz did the same in 2018 when assembling a tribute program to the Czech-born Kylián on the centenary of the Czechoslovak Declaration of Independence. (more…)

Stirring the Imagination

“Paper Story”
Laterna magika
The New Stage
Prague, Czech Republic
September 03, 2022

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

1. M.Petrák (Boy), “Paper Story” by R.Vizváry and M.Ramba, Laterna magika 2022 © P.BoreckýLaterna magika’s 2021 “Paper Story” is a winner with young audiences. One young nipper, curious about the stage set – a halfway-unrolled reel of white paper – escaped the watchful eyes of his mother and triumphantly ran across the stage before the performance. The bored boy (Matěj Petrák) was pelted with laughter and sneering when it became clear that he had discovered that the paper reel had a life of its own. The reel escaped his headlong dives, pulling him here and there, flying magically, ambushing him, mocking him constantly, and even folding around his head into a Napoleon-esque hat. The wad of paper that Petrák throws into the distance doesn’t end the magic, but instead opens the doors to a fantasy world made entirely from white paper. (more…)

Ill-chosen

“Notre-Dame de Paris”
Ballet of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma
Terme di Caracalla
Rome, Italy
August 03, 2022

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

1. Ensemble, “Notre-Dame de Paris” by R.Petit, Ballet of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma 2022 © F.Sansoni / Teatro dell’Opera di RomaThe Teatro dell’Opera di Roma is in the enviable position of being able to relocate their performances to impressive antique open-air venues during the warm months. While the 2021 summer performances took place at the Circus Maximus, this year the company returned to its traditional stage at the Baths of Caracalla. I watched the final performance of Roland Petit’s “Notre-Dame de Paris”, based on Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”.

The ballet tells the tale of the disabled Quasimodo (bell-ringer of Notre Dame in late medieval Paris), his master Claude Frollo (Notre Dame’s archdeacon), Esmeralda (a beautiful Romani woman), and Captain Phoebus (Esmeralda’s lover). In a departure from Tikhomirov & Burmeister’s take on the story for the Stanislavsky Ballet (their “La Esmeralda”), Petit stripped down the original plot to its nuts and bolts. (more…)

Unwilling (but actually eager)

“The Taming of the Shrew”
Les Ballets de Monte Carlo
Forum Ludwigsburg
Ludwigsburg, Germany
July 23, 2022

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

1. A.Tognoloni (Katherine) and F.Mariottini (Petruchio), “The Taming of the Shrew” by J.-C.Maillot, Les Ballets de Monte Carlo 2022 © A.BlangeroThe gender dynamics depicted by Shakespeare in “The Taming of the Shrew” render it one of his most controversial plays. Staging it risks setting off a litany of accusations. Some deem the comedy to be misogynistic, chauvinistic, and sexist. Nevertheless, Jean-Christophe Maillot found the guts to choreograph a new adaption for the Bolshoi Ballet in 2014 that has become hugely popular. In 2017, he modified it for his own company – Les Ballets de Monte Carlo. Last weekend, the troupe performed the piece on tour in Ludwigsburg.

Following the lead of earlier choreographers of the work, Maillot omitted Shakespeare’s frame story (the drunken tinker Christopher Sly is fooled into experiencing a make-believe world). The frame story allows the central story (about Baptista’s struggle to marry his two daughters – the much-courted Bianca and the wayward Katherine) (more…)

Soft Wrapping – Crisp Core

“Soirée 3 Choréographes” (“Claude Pascal” / “Casi Casa” / “Back on Track 61”)
Les Ballets de Monte Carlo
Salle des Princes, Grimaldi Forum
Monte Carlo, Monaco
July 16, 2022

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

1. L.Beyne (Marie-Claire), A.Reist (Pierre-Marie), A.Maksakov (Jean-Pascale), and G.Riou (Marie-Claude), “Claude Pascal” by J.Kylián, Les Ballets de Monte Carlo 2022 © A.BlangeroLes Ballet de Monte Carlo’s recent triple bill combines a new piece by the company’s artistic director Jean-Christophe Maillot (“Back on Track 61”) with Jiří Kylián’s “Claude Pascal” (2002) and Mats Ek’s “Casi Casa” (2009).

“Claude Pascal” is a misleading title, as no one in Kylián’s black-and-white-hued piece is so named. There’s Marie-Claire (Lou Beyne), a grand dame with a Russian accent and a fan collection; the childish Marie-Claude (Gaëlle Riou), who plays rock n’ roll on her tennis racket; Jean-Pascale (Artjom Maksakov), wielding a walking cane and talking about hair loss and grief-stuffed pants (…); and the athletically-inclined Pierre-Marie (Adam Reist), who recites an excerpt from Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” on the life expectancies of turtles, elephants, parrots, frogs, and fakirs. All four are time travelers from 1890(ish) – (more…)