NZSD: Graduation Season 2014

November 23, 2014 at 9:21 am | Posted in Ballet Review, Dance Review | 1 Comment
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I went to the New Zealand School of Dance‘s 2014 Graduation Season last night.

The programme was dominated by contemporary and neo-classical pieces. The third (mini-) Act was one long neo-classic series of pieces labelled: Purcell Pieces.

The first mini-Act consisted of George Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco – all very tidy and precise, with some clever choreography to move dancers around each other; and The Speech (by Charlie Chaplin). The latter seemed more polished than when I saw it at – well done Jeremy Beck.

Another piece to catch my eye, was Val Caniparoli’s Double Stop – Samantha Vottari and Tynan Wood did a very good job.

Finally, exercpts from Douglas Wright’s Rapt was performed. This piece is – according to the programme, loosely base on the Lord’s Prayer in sign language. It begs the question: if it is not alright for dancers to speak or sing, why should they sign? Or, maybe this mix of dance and signing, will open up a new form of dance expression.

This year’s graduates look good.

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Giselle: Mats Ek’s

January 10, 2013 at 9:25 am | Posted in Ballet Review, Dance Review, DVD Review | 1 Comment
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I watched Mats Ek’s Giselle on DVD the other day, and I was impressed his re-interpretation of the original story.

The peasants are dressed in grey and are much drabber than the tradition cheerful peasants. Giselle – Ana Laguna – is the only one in her community to were colour: she is treated as an eccentric – she is routinely tied up. It is no wonder she eventually ends up at an institution.

Myrth – Lena Wennergren – is recast as the matron at the asylum.

Albrecht – Luc Bouy – the prince turns Giselle’s head and she can no longer fit into the drab routine of village life. Giselle has a mental breakdown and awakens in the asylum. The dance of the wills is transformed into a dance macabre of mad women.

Hilarion – Yvan Auzely – remains on the other side of the love-triangle.

Both Hilarion and Albrecht visit Giselle – but to no avail. Giselle stays in the safety of the asylum – rather than re-enter a world that has no place for her.

Ek has completely reversed this romantic ballet into a much more realistic tragedy.

The Cullberg Ballet did a marvelous job of the blend of neo-classic and contemporary ballet choreography – there is no pointe work (as it presumably go counter to the anti-romantic paradigm). Lena Wennergren, Luc Bout, and Yvan Auzely do a fantastic job of their characterisations and dancing. Ms Wennegren has a particularly grueling role – mimw and challenging choreography.

What really surprised me was that this was a 1987 recording – originally for TV.

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