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Views on Mats Ek and Cullberg Ballet


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I'm trying to decide whether to go and see Royal Swedish Ballet's R&J and Cullberg Ballet at Sadler's Wells this autumn. I like to see new things but I have to say that the video clips don't greatly inspire me as the works look too contemporary for my taste. Does anyone have any views?

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The Mats Ek R&J is great! It's his first story ballet since 1997, not so modern as you might fear after having seen his Sleeping Beauty, where Aurora is a drug addict, or his ingenious Giselle in the madhouse, but surprisingly similar to Prokofjev's narration structure, even if Ek changes the music to Tchaikovsky. By some strange magic it works perfectly. You must like his movement style with the flexed feet, but his version is honest and true, very funny with the nurse, rather brutal with Tybalt and Julia's father, soaring in the balcony pdd and at times terribly sad. Great ideas for Mercutio. The decoration is sparse, just some moving walls but with wonderful light design, the costumes are beautiful in their simplicity. I liked it very much. In Germany it got rave reviews from all newspapers - now I know that our taste is different, but if you would like to try Mats Ek, his R&J (which by the way he named "Julia & Romeo") would be the best start, no doubt.

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Aileen I think only you can answer that one! If Mats Ek's vision and movement language doesn't 'speak' to you in some way, then you probably won't enjoy Juliet and Romeo. But if you're curious then I would recommend giving it a go! Ek's work is always engaging and thought-provoking as well as being aesthetically satisfying to watch (to me at least)...

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I've seen enough of Ek and over a long period of time to know that his vision of choreography contradicts what I consider to be the very essence of ballet. Pas de deux with a bidet, for example, is not my idea how to utilize an étoile.

 

!!!  Now, that one I must have missed out on!

 

But does he actually claim that his choreography has anything in common with ballet?  From what I've seen of it, which is pretty much Carmen, Swan Lake, Giselle, Sleeping Beauty and the odd piece he's done for Guillem/NDTx, I wouldn't have thought so.

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Carmen and Swan Lake are the only 2 I have seen live, the others were on the television.  I particularly enjoyed Swan Lake (but then it did feature Charlotte Broom and Chris Akrill (both ex-NB and now of Headspace Dance)).  When Sleeping Beauty was on TV my niece was about 14 at the time and was absolutely rivetted to it.

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