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Karlsruhe: R&J, Swan Lake, new work

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So, you might ask, what's a well-brought-up Australian doing swanning around Karlsruhe? Apart from having a ball, that is. I'm here with Tours en L'aire's trip to the Stuttgart Ballet, and Karlsruhe is an optional add-on. (If anyone wants to know more about my wonderful experience with Tours en L'aire, send me a PM). 5 days, 3 ballets, Macmillan's Romeo and Juliet, Wheeldon's Swan Lake, and a new work by Thiago Bordin, Zukunft Barucht Herkunft, which I have translated as Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow: a history of ballet in Karlsruhe over the last 250 years. We kicked off with Romeo and Juliet and I was impressed. Karlsruhe Ballet company is small, about 45 dancers, and I had no great expectations, but they were impressive. Australian (!) Blythe Newman and Pablo Octavio danced the lead roles, and gave excellent interpretations of ecstatic if doomed love. The guy to watch out for, however, is Klevis Neva, whose Mercutio was wonderful. Swan Lake was, I think,  less successful. Chemistry between the two leads, Harriet Mills and Zhe Le Xu was lacking and the corps de ballet a times a little ragged. But Rothbart was wonderful, and I really liked Wheeldon's depiction of him as a dissolute roue` intent on seduction. ( The ballet was set at the end of the 19th century in St Petersberg.) But overall, still a great presentation. Finally, Yesterday Today Tomorrow was, to my mind, the weakest of the three ballets. Divided into 9 parts, the first three, covering the beginning, the Baroque and the Romantic periods I really didn't like. Too much slapstick, girls poking each other, (incuding the eyes) and ordering the men around. It did however, relentlessly skewer the 'Hey, look at me' tendency. Things greatly improved after interval, as we moved into the Imperial Ballet, the Ballet Russe, WW2, (masterfully depicted in the legions of women with buckets who removed the rubble) the modern era and the future. The last sections would benefit from some judicious editing. But overall a woderful three nights of ballet, and Stuttgart is yet to come!

Edited by jmb
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