By Patricia Boccadoro
PARIS, 28 JUNE 2009 Good
Morning, Mr. Gershwin is the title of Montalvo and Hervieu's latest
show, presented at the Theatre National de Chaillot in Paris, playing to
full houses earlier this season. It is a light-hearted bubble of fun, at
least during the first part of the work, before more sombre elements edge
their way in.
The work opens with a joyful, brightly coloured video
showing at the back of a darkened stage. Naked dancers dive into a pool
and swim around underwater, huge smiles on their faces, and are joined by
the rest of the troupe, some fully dressed, others in swimsuits. They play
peekaboo around a giant-sized sandcastle.
Gershwin's music blares out with the catchy, legendary
melodies he wrote in the twenties, and a spotlight illumines the rest of
the stage, where the dancers, highly professional, good-humoured and
obviously relishing in the fast-moving choreography, now dominate.
Good Morning Mr.
Photo: L Philippe
Â© CCN de Créteil
The fantasy world of Hollywood and the movies of
Esther Williams are recreated before our very eyes and inventive, amusing
dance takes place. Two dancers come to the forefront of the scene, one
accomplishing an energetic tap dance, all the while partnering a young
girl in point shoes. This is entertainment at its best and the audience
loves every minute of it.
But then the score of Porgy and Bess takes
over. The sunny, easygoing video is replaced by a large, black and white
photo of the interior of a segregated bus, succeeded by images of a public lynching. Then,
rapidly following one after another came videos of students marching for
integrated schools, of the riots in Vaulx-en-velin, and, finally, the
insistent image of a woman whose son was shot by the New York City Police.
But unfortunately, what was happening simultaneously on the stage became
very repetitious, as though the two choreographers had devoted all their
time to the video and had run a little short of ideas for the rest.
It was last June that Montalvo and Hervieu, who
founded their own company in 1981, were made co-directors of the Chaillot
theatre, with the mission to turn it into a popular theatre for everyone,
with the emphasis on dance. Via dance, their aim is to bring as wide an
audience as possible to the theatre, amuse them, develop their
imagination, and make them think. This work, however, even if it was
lengthily applauded, lacked the poetry and enchantment of their previous
show, Paradis, a superb production for all ages.
Patricia Boccadoro writes on dance in Europe .
She is the dance editor for Culturekiosque.com and last
wrote on the French ballet star Stéphane
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