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Nureyev & Friends - Palais des Congres, Paris. Friday, May 31 2013

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It was one gigantic stage at the Palais des Congres in Paris that welcomed dancers from around the world, who came to celebrate and pay homage to Rudolf Nureyev.

Yet the evening seemed a little detached, and emotion failed to build up for the occasion. That was probably partly due to the oversized stage and to the way the audience is laid out inside the hall (the width is impressive)... it might be difficult for dancers to engage with a public that is so widely spread out in front of you. In total, 11 variations and a few heart-warming testimonials. But the essence of Nureyev, his passion, his magic didn't manage to filter through and to fill the room with emotion, which is what I was expecting from an tribute evening organised in Paris, his adoption city for many years.


Anyway... I still enjoyed greatly the dancing. The program was as follows:



1- Petite Mort by Kylian (opera de Bordeaux)

2- La Sylphide by Bournonville (Iana Salenko, Marian Water)

3- La Bayadere by Petipa - PDD of the Shades (Evgenia Obratztsova, Evgeni Ivanchenko)

4- Manon by MacMillan (Tamara Rojo, Frederic Bonelli)

5- Two Pieces for Het by Hans van Manen (Maia Makhateli, Remi Woertmeyer)

6- Raymonda by Petipa, Nureyev - PDD Act 3 (Aurelie Dupont, Mathias Heymann)

7- Sleeping Beauty by Petipa - PDD Act 3 (Evgenia Obratztsova, Dmitry Gudanov)

8- Manfred by Nureyev (Matthias Heymann)

9- Marguerite et Armand by Ashton (Tamara Rojo, Rupert Pennefather)

10- Swan Lake by Petipa, Ivanov - Adagio Blanc (Daria Vasnetsova, Evgeni Ivanchenko)

11- Le Corsaire by Petipa (Aleksandra Timofeeva, Vadim Muntagirov)


My personal highlights:

1- A personal first to see this beautiful choreography: we discussed recently on this forum how some ballets lack the connection between the music and the dancing (cf Raven Girl reviews). Well, here, the match was perfect, the movements followed the notes of the Adagio of the Piano Concerto n 23 by Mozart after a gripping start, where the only sound you hear is the one of the 6 male dancers moving and their swords. The nude bodies and the sobriety of the choreography was just beautiful (like the apparent simplicity of Mozart's music). The great group choreographies are followed by a wonderful PDDs, where legs bend and bodies create beautiful symmetries. The entire piece breathes together with the music. The Ballet of Bordeaux did a great job and their sense of musicality made it so much more touching.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7afrgC5l8I (by the Nederlands Dance Theater)


4- Mainly for the choreography (MacMillan remains my favourite) but it was lovely to see Tamara and Bonelli. Moving perf.


6- Well... Aurelie Dupont.. Constant dilemma. As usual, I was totally unmoved by her dancing but I couldn't take my eyes off her. So that IS something. Her movements are at the opposite of the russian extravagance (no oversplits, no 10 degrees arabesques a la seconde...) but an extreme control and a breath-taking (literally!) austere technique. There wasn't a single wobble French ballet at its best. She deserved all the applause she got for it.


8- Manfred. Matthias Heymann is such a beautiful dancer. He literally exploded on stage and gave me goose bumps with his enthusiasm and passionate dancing.


11- Le Corsaire. Obvious way to end the evening, but so effective!! I just love watching Vadim Muntagirov. He is so expressive and musical while dancing with such a perfectly controlled technique.


I could go on about other dancers that were also present, in particular Ivanchenko and Remi Woertmeyer. Alexandra Timofeeva from the Kremlin Ballet was also very elegant and technically superb in Le Corsaire.





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