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    MacMillan, Scarlett, Cranko, Bejart, Goecke, Scholz, McGregor, Royal Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, Gauthier Dance, Bejart Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, Ballet du Rhin, Ballet Nice Mediterranee

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  1. For those with access to Arte, Nurejev's Cendrillon with Paris Opera Ballet is now online as video on demand until May 2020. This is also the ballet with which Karl Paquette retired at the end of 2018. https://www.arte.tv/fr/videos/082792-001-F/cendrillon/
  2. It's been a few years already since I've seen the company in Toulouse but I certainly enjoyed their performances, and in particular those with Ramiro Gomez Samon. As for the repertoire - ah, the exquisite joy of choreography that is so distinct from what's on at Paris Opera (and at ticket prices that are far more affordable, too).
  3. Thanks so much, Alison, for adjusting the font size in my post above ☺ I am on phone only at the moment and anything that I write comes up as either too small or too large (eg this post) in font size, even if I change to another font type.
  4. Highlights for me were the following Performances - all with The Royal Ballet . Mayerling with Edward Watson and Mara Galeazzi in 2013 . The double debut by Francesca Hayward and James Hay in Rhapsody in 2014 . The double debut by Yasmine Naghdi and Matthew Ball in Romeo & Juliet in 2015 New productions - both with The Royal Ballet . Wayne McGregor. Woolf Works . Crystal Pite. Flight Pattern Other . The annual World Ballet Day . Juergen Rose's designs for Mayerling for Stuttgart Ballett in 2019 . The biannual Colours International Dance Festival at the Theaterhaus in Stuttgart . Discovering this forum
  5. John Neumeier's Beethoven Project premiered in 2018. A performance in Baden Baden in Oct 2019 was recorded and is now available online until Mar 2020. About the work https://www.hamburgballett.de/en/schedule/event.php?AuffNr=159437 Link to video on demand (I hope the link works outside Germany) https://www.ardmediathek.de/swr/player/Y3JpZDovL3N3ci5kZS9hZXgvbzExODU0MTQ?devicetype=pc%2F
  6. Too many performances to highlight just one, I thought initially ... & then broke things down into categories . Dance theatre. Maguy Marin. May B. Unlike anything that I'd ever seen before . Contemporary. Keersmaeker. A live performance of Fase in Dec 2019 following a video of Part 1 at the beginning of 2019 . Discovery of the year - the company, the music, the lyrics. Preljocaj. Winterreise . Costumes. Mayerling. Stuttgart Ballett . Choreographer whom I enjoy more and more every time: Akram Khan. Outwitting the Devil, Kaash, Xenos . Performer. Dominique Petit as the elderly Gilgamesh in Khan's Outwitting the Devil and Friedemann Vogel in Khan's Kaash . Cinema. White Crow . Internet. World Ballet Day
  7. Thierry Malandain's new work "La Pastorale" for his company Malandain Ballet Biarritz is now available on Arte https://www.arte.tv/fr/videos/094382-000-A/la-pastorale-de-thierry-malandain-au-theatre-de-chaillot/ The piece was commissioned to celebrate Beethoven's 250th birthday.
  8. For those who happen to be in Paris over the coming months - there's a new exhibition "couturiers de la danse" at the Centre National du Costume de Scene in Moulins. Direct trains from Paris to Moulins take about 2.5 hours so this should work out just fine as a day trip from Paris. Exhibition site https://www.cncs.fr/couturiers-de-la-danse?language=fr The Centre's web site has an English version but the exhibition opened only a few days ago so no English version for this one yet hence via google translate https://translate.google.de/translate?hl=&sl=fr&tl=en&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cncs.fr%2Fcouturiers-de-la-danse About 120 costumes designed by Chanel, Versace, Balmain, Givenchy, Lagerfeld, Saint Laurent, Gaultier, Lacroix and others are on display, costumes that were designed for POB as well as for other companies. The exhibition runs until 3 May 2020. The Centre also includes a permanent exhibition about Rudolf Nureyev https://www.cncs.fr/nureyev-collection?language=en-gb, complete with stage costumes, art works that he collected, pictures of Nureyev as well as other aspects of his personal life and artistic career (the French site of this permanent exhibition gives a more detailed description of the contents of this collection). I need to admit that I hadn't heard of Moulins or the Centre previously but the two exhibitions certainly look very interesting and well worth the journey provided that I can make it to Paris before the beginning of May 2020.
  9. Live stream by the Bavarian State Ballet on 23 May 2020 Ratmansky - Pictures at an Exhibition Dawson - A world premiere Eyal - Bedroom Folk https://www.staatsoper.de/en/staatsopertv/staatsopertv.html?no_cache=1 Also available as video on demand for a month thereafter.
  10. As I've seen Les Beaux Dormants performed live recently, in relation to yesterday's Insight - - the lighting didn't come across well in the videos shown; it wasn't as dark on stage as it looked last night - the Lilac Fairy was wearing shades of blue/ berry rather than black when I saw the piece (yes, there is a lot of black for the other costumes) - the sleeping beauty is wearing a long white shirt when she is woken up by the prince - why Helen Blackburn mentioned metoo and Bruno Bouche' spoke about sexualness when it comes to the male dancer in the role of Carabosse, I don't know - I certainly didn't see anything resembling metoo or sexualness when I saw the work in Strasbourg The description of the event on the ROH site was inconsistent as others have pointed out.
  11. This programme premiered in Mulhouse at the end of October, and I got attracted to it when I saw a review that included a video extract of the works shown. Luckily, train fares to Strasbourg were still fine at the time of booking, and so I saw the matinee performance on Sunday. .... This being the 3rd time in France within the space of a month, the trouble is, however, that the more often I am there, the more time I’d like to spend there Pagliaccio by Mattia Russo & Antonio de Rosa to Shostakovich. Bells are ringing, and the curtain opens to show members of an ancient circus mourning Auguste who has passed away. A despotic clown in white with a whip directs and torments the members of the circus – a juggling acrobat in a shiny silver unitard, a Marylin-Monroe lookalike on a unicycle, a ventriloquist, a harlequin, and others more. There is a short passage whereby the artists worship the white clown (gymnastic clubs are used to celebrate the clown in white) but the artists retreat, it seemed in fear, just to then reappear and laugh at the despotic clown. A whistle is blown, military music is played, and the artists illustrate the carrying of guns and marching to the tune of the music. What looked like a battle scene left some artists injured/ dead. A strongman overpowers the clown (symbol of a fight for power, of resistance or an uprising against the despot?), and they leave the stage. Russo & de Rosa got inspired by Shostakovich’s experiences and the environment that he lived in (though I think that this work could equally be applied to other events and circumstances elsewhere and at different times). Magnificent costumes. Dance theatre, with the performers superbly in character throughout, including during the curtain calls. Stunning performances by all involved, thought-provoking, memorable. Bruno Bouche’s 40D to Rachmaninov and Scriabin. Bouche dedicated this work to Eva Kleinitz, Director General of the Opera du Rhin who sadly passed away, far too young, earlier this year. 40D – the title is intentionally enigmatic – is a beautiful, poetic and melancholic homage to Kleinitz. Dancers in black-ish leotards and tights/ vests, women on pointe. Bodies stretching upwards, bending forwards/ backwards and being close to a breakdown, full of despair and non-acceptance of fate; consoling hugs; dancers carrying others in pieta-like movements; a scene that reminded me very much of Gericault’s painting The Raft of the Medusa with a huddle of dancers lifting their arms in desperation in the midst of a tumultuous situation. I found 40D incredibly moving, and it triggered an intense and deep emotional response in me, comparable to Tetley’s Voluntaries. Helene Blackburn’s Les Beaux Dormants to a remastered version of Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty. Initially created for children and now reworked to turn it into a piece for all age groups. Les Beaux Dormants will be shown at the Lynbury next week. The piece is based on the story of The Sleeping Beauty. I guess the emphasis is “based on”; this relates to the story (Blackburn’s piece is about the transition of individuals from childhood through adolescence into adulthood), the movements (including a virtuoso solo that made think that it was inspired by Bluebird’s solo), the music (a collage of what has been remastered, quite a lot of this did sound really beautiful, like an electronic rhythm laid over minimal piano music, plus a few clips that I think were the original musical score), the scenery (partitions that resemble stone walls/ overgrown bushes and trees); the costumes (no tutus in sight, women in heels/ in flats/ on pointe, Carabosse in the form of a man wearing a skirt on top of a pair of trousers and with one foot in a ballet flat and the other on pointe) and those on stage (dancers portraying young people, without there being someone identifiable as the other fairies, at least not for me, unless they were a group of men who were sitting on a bench at one point in time). A video shows children playing and hopping across the stage. They talk about how they imagine a prince to be (e.g., “intelligent”, “elegant”, “rich”, “lives in a castle”). Tall grey moveable partitions illustrate the walls of a castle. Dancers in black suits and white shirts appear between the partitions, they look for others and disappear again, some of them encounter others, they look at them, there is a kiss, and still others are pushed back as if to show that contact has been rejected – there is a plethora of human interaction being evoked. A dancer briefly tells the story of Sleeping Beauty (I presume there’ll be surtitles at the Linbury for this part just as for the initial video?). Balletic movements come to the fore e.g., pas the chat, assemblees, arabesques; solos turn to a number of PDD (male/ female and also a male duet). The tone of the PDD changes from tender encounters to women throwing themselves into men’s arms and kissing them, to interaction reminiscent of mature relationships – and with different individuals going through these transitional steps into adulthood at different points in time and in different ways. A woman in a white shirt wakes up (the Sleeping Beauty?) and hugs a man (the Prince I presume?) … adulthood has been reached? I found the retelling of the story very catching and loved the minimal piano music with electronic sounds on top. As this piece will be performed at the ROH next week, it'd be great to read thoughts by other forum members about Les Beaux Dormants. Video extract as part of a review https://www.francetvinfo.fr/culture/spectacles/danse/le-ballet-du-rhin-sonde-l-ame-russe-avec-chostakovitch-tchaikovski-rachmaninov-et-scriabine_3675057.html Video of rehearsals https://www.dna.fr/culture-loisirs/2019/10/21/video-mulhouse-soiree-russe-pour-le-ballet-du-rhin A number of stage pictures https://www.lalsace.fr/haut-rhin/2019/10/26/sous-le-grand-chapiteau-du-ballet-du-rhin
  12. The POB has released a superb interview with Crystal Pite, providing lots of insight into Body and Soul. The interview is in English with French subtitles. It also includes extracts of studio rehearsals. A number of stage pictures have been added just above the video on the same page. https://www.operadeparis.fr/en/season-19-20/ballet/crystal-pite#gallery
  13. Thanks so much for your replies, Sim and onemouseplace. With regards to Da Vinci - I hadn't realised that the Vitruvian man will only be shown for the first 8 weeks, so I guess we were both lucky in that respect. The free exhibition guide is now available in English, too - cf. the link to "exhibition booklet" here https://www.louvre.fr/en/expositions/leonardo-da-vinci. The exhibition catalogue, on the other hand, still seems to come in only French, which I find rather odd - surely such an exhibition will attract an international audience that will not only want to see the works but also buy the catalogue. I didn't go with the audio guide as that would have required handing over an ID card, and the examples mentioned on the Louvre's web site say e.g., passport/ ID card/ credit card ... and these are exactly the cards that I won't be parting with under any circumstances (moreover, the booklet looked more than detailed enough on its own). Reading that the audio guide covered only around 22 works, I am glad I just kept it to the booklet. Did they actually accept other ID cards than those mentioned on their web site? As for Body and Soul - for those who understand spoken French, the link here https://www.franceculture.fr/emissions/la-dispute/theatre-please-please-please-body-and-soul-isadora-duncan includes a discussion about Pite's new work for POB. What makes the review special in my view is that from around 21 min 50 sec onwards, the full text that is spoken by Marina Hands at the start of Body and Soul and a number of times thereafter can be heard.
  14. When Paris Opera Ballet announced that the 19/20 season would include a new choreography by Crystal Pite, I thought JJJ. Exhilaration subsequently turned into hesitation when the company’s web site showed a planned duration of just 60 minutes plus interval for this new piece (it turned out to be around 90-100 minutes including interval) as I thought, well, not really, given Paris prices for tickets and travel … Things changed for the better when Bejart Ballet Lausanne announced that they’d perform Ballet for Life in Paris at the end of October. Adding a few temporary exhibitions, and there it was, a two-day trip to Paris, packed with cultural activities. Paris Opera Ballet with Crystal Pite’s Body and Soul on Wednesday night. Both The New York Times and the Financial Times had published their reviews before I was heading to the Opera House on Wednesday and neither of them were particularly jubilant. I’ve taken a more positive stance on the work. Key to the work is a text that Crystal Pite had written herself and that is read by Marina Hands. The text features in all three parts of Body and Soul. It describes what is happening on stage e.g., steps taken (“gauche droite gauche droite gauche”), parts of the body that are touched (“touchant son front, son menton, sa poitrine”) or moved (“bouge les epaules, la tete, les pieds; se retourne de nouveau”), interaction and fight between figure 1 and figure 2. Figures 1/ 2 can both be performed by individuals, by an individual interacting with a group of dancers, or by groups interacting with each other. The same text is read to combative situations, to tender encounters and to a woman grieving over a man’s dead body. And so Body and Soul refers to the range of relationships from love and harmony to conflict and grief between individuals, between individuals and groups as well as between body and soul within an individual. Part 1 starts with the text read out in a neutral, descriptive manner to a combative situation between two men. Later on, the same text is applied to a much more tender encounter between a man and a woman. The ensemble forms a wave that crashes against a shoreline and that increases in intensity, together with rising chants that reminded me of a sports event with clashing fan groups. Conflict emerges from within the wave, and Part 1 ends with the text being spoken with audible empathy to a woman’s grief over a dead man’s body – this time, the touching of front, chin, chest, etc. is not on the figure's own body but on the body of the deceased man i.e., the other figure. Part 2 to Chopin’s Preludes with a series of PDD and dancers in groups. Some of the movements that featured in Part 1 reappear (e.g., figure 1 on the ground, stretching out his hand to figure 2 but without establishing physical contact; a figure turning and manipulating the head of the other figure). The scenography then changes to what reminded me of a crypt. The text is spoken again, and this time the grieving woman touches the floor rather than the deceased man’s body as the body is not there anymore and yet she is still in the midst of her grieving process. The grieving woman and the dead man are performed by Muriel Zusperreguy and Alessio Carbone. I’ve read somewhere that they will both retire at the end of the run of Body and Soul, and I so I think their roles in Body and Soul are particularly fitting. Costumes for part 1 and 2 are identical for man and women – black trousers, white shirts with white vests underneath, black ties, long black coats (coats, ties and shirts are then taken off). The voice refers to figure 1 and figure 2 as only names of those on stage. So everyone looks the same, everyone is called almost the same. This creates a sense of anonymity and universality of the content of Body and Soul in my view. Change in scenography and costumes for Part 3. Dancers look like insects with their shiny black body suits and black face masks, arms extended with what looks like a sting, women now on pointe. Tall structures have been lowered down from the top, reminiscent of a forest or of cave-like areas underground that the insects inhabit. The insects move in groups of different sizes, then the female insects threaten the male insects. A figure with hair falling down to his waist appears – my initial thought was that this was showing events during the Stone Age but I now think the figure with the long hair is a “king insect” just as bees come with a queen bee. The insects continue to dance, the voice over can be heard again but in a much fragmented way. Teddy Geiger’s Body and Soul is played, and everyone – male and female insects and the figure with the long hair start to dance; this was rhythmic, uplifting, fun, inducing head bobbing on my part. Having since read the lyrics for Geiger’s song, I think it goes way beyond rhythm and fun though e.g. "All that I want is a piece of your heart. Your body and soul, body and soul". So the insects experience the same range of emotional situations in relationships, emphasising the universality and ubiquity of the content of Pite's new work in my view. Most of the 10+ reviews of Body and Soul that I’ve read are mixed (positive exceptions being Le Figaro and the Sueddeutsche Zeitung) but I found it fascinating to see how what was shown on stage has been interpreted differently by different reviewers. To give a couple of examples the costumes – city wear or military clothing? The figure with the long hair in part 3: part human/ part animal, a figure from a sci-fi work or a figure from the Barbapapas? The ensemble moving as wave a hint of current street protests? I’ve taken this as yet another sign of the universality of what was shown on stage and that, depending on the social context that a viewer is in or applies to the work, Body and Soul allows itself to be read everywhere and at anytime, and this makes Pite’s newest work even more fascinating in my opinion. I don’t know how many visitors from abroad who don’t speak French go to performances of POB but as the programme came – as usual - with a 2-page overview of the piece in English, I guess it will be a fair few. Based on this, I think the text that was the basis for Pite’s new work should have been included in the programme in English, too, or even better, featured in the cast sheet which is handed out to all spectators, whether they buy a programme or not. Links to two reviews that include short video extracts of Body and Soul https://www.lefigaro.fr/culture/decouvrez-la-creation-mondiale-de-crystal-pite-a-l-opera-de-paris-20191028 https://mobile.francetvinfo.fr/culture/spectacles/danse/danse-a-la-rencontre-de-la-choregraphe-crystal-pite_3676669.html Ballet Bejart Lausanne with Maurice Bejart’s Ballet for Life on Thursday evening. This piece had been on my wish list for some time. An homage to life, to Freddie Mercury, to The Queen, to Jorge Donn. Musical, immensely creative, eclectic, wondrous, at times surreal, some poses that are reminiscent of The Queen, some laughing, some shouting. Marvellous costumes by Versace, including a black unitard resembling a costume that Freddie Mercury had worn, bathing costumes for Seaside Rendez-vous, more formal dresses for one of the Mozart interludes, a pair of tights featuring the Union Jack for one of the songs, etc. The penultimate song came with a number of videos with Jorge Donn, including how he arranged huge white cloths in the form of a cross on a studio floor. This was when I got the significance of the white sheets that the dancers lie beneath at the start, which they then handle in the first and the last songs, and which they cover themselves with at the very end of the last song. It is always a joy to see Julien Favreau and Elisabeth Ros perform live but the dancer that stays in my mind from Thursday’s performance is Gabriel Arenas Ruiz with his two substantial rather balletic solos to Mozart’s Thamos Overture & Masonic Music – bravo. I loved the way the curtain calls were handled – Gil Roman inviting dancers to come on stage one by one/ in twos/ in threes, and then hugging/ greeting/ bowing to each of them. I just wish their programme booklets were cheaper, this one cost 20 EUR L A few words about some of the exhibitions that I went to. Da Vinci at The Louvre - no surprise that the exhibition space was busy but it seems to me that ticket sales have been somewhat slower so far than for the Da Vinci exhibition at the National Gallery in 2011, relatively speaking. 170+ exhibits; I was particularly impressed by the mathematical and scientific investigations on display. For anyone who plans to see the works – entry is by timed ticket only; the ticket then gives access to the Louvre for the remainder of the day. El Greco at the Grand Palais – I thought I’d seen a fair few works by El Greco in the past but this exhibition included lots of items that were new to me as they stemmed from museums and collectors in the US. Definitely worth seeing for lovers of El Greco’s works. There is also – among many others – an exhibition with works by Degas at the Musee d’Orsay Degas at the Opera that prs59 referred to in a post in another thread, and that I didn’t go to. Putting my legs up now after lots of walking through Paris over the last few days.
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