Dance: Reviews
You are in:  Home > Dance > Reviews   •  Archives   •  send page to a friend

Headline Feed
Email to a friend




By Patricia Boccadoro

PARIS, 21 JUNE 2016 — The evening Ratmansky/Balanchine/Robbins/Peck proved to be a pleasant enough programme of dance despite its unevenness and repetitive nature. After the explosion of Tcherniakov’s Iolantha/Casse-Noisette, it was easy on the eye and the emotions. Four works were presented including Ratmansky’s Seven Sonatas, new to the repertoire, but which was created for American Ballet Theater. It was followed by Balanchine’s Duo Concertant and Justin Peck’s In Creases, both created for New York City Ballet, as well as Other Dances, Robbins’ creation at the Metropolitan Opera House of New York for Baryshnikov and Makarova, subsequently taken into the repertoire of New York City Ballet. In short, it could have been considered as a tribute to the American school of dance, excepting that Millepied had already done that in his opening production.

Alexei Ratmansky’s Seven Sonatas was set to seven harpsichord sonatas that the Russian choreographer, currently resident choreographer of American Ballet Theater, had chosen out of the 555 composed by Domenico Scarlatti in the 18th century. Indeed, the piece, a moment of pure dance for three couples started off very well indeed but the ‘moment’ went on a little too long as halfway through one’s attention was distracted by Holly Hynes ravishing costumes. Together with pianist Elena Bonnay’s elegant playing, the musician herself being one of the stars of the evening, they stole attention away from the dance.

The girls wore exquisite, knee length dresses, all in white and seemingly alike, but on closer inspection one could see from behind that one girl had a dainty edging of lace around her neck. The second had delicate shoulder straps in a square while the third girl’s dress dipped lower over her shoulders in a V shape. They were complemented by the costumes of the men, also attractively attired in white, and all different at the front.

The work, without décor or narrative, was a dialogue between dance and the score where the only demand on the dancers was an impeccable musicality. But it was under-cast, without a single étoile to raise the level and create some interest.

In Creases
Choreography: Justin Peck
Paris Opera Ballet
Sebastien Mathé

The audience was woken up to Robbin’s brilliant Other Dances, a new and welcome addition to the company’s repertoire. Danced to four mazurkas and a waltz by Chopin, it is a tricky but playful duet for two virtuoso dancers and the interpretion by étoiles Matthieu Ganio and Amandine Albisson, was both lyrical and poetical, but the moment of respite was far too short.

Balanchine’s Duo Concertant may be a new addition to the repertoire, but  choreographically speaking, it is not one of Balanchine’s major works and oddly cast it proved  disappointing. Karl Paquette and Eléonore Guérineau formed a most unlikely couple. Guérineau, petite and highly expressive, is far from being a cool, long-legged Balanchinian beauty while Paquette, who towered above her, had his mind on other things. And after the inspired playing of the Scarlatti piece, the Stravinsky score interpreted by Jean-Yves Sébillotte accompanied by Karin Ato on the violin, was labored.

Consequently, the work, In Creases by the young American, Justin Peck, invited for the first time to the Paris Opera, came as a revelation. The title itself is a play on words between the verb, to increase, and the words ’in crisis’.’. The choreographer plays with the differing configurations of four men and four women who form precise kaleidoscopic figures.  Refreshing, energetic, and athletic, it was danced to the accompaniment of two pianos on stage playing a score by Philip Glass.

One could tell that there was an affiliation with Balanchine and Robbins, but it was by no means a rehash, being both quirky and original. While there were yet again no étoiles in evidence, it was led by a Vincent Chaillot in excellent form, and four women, galvanized by the scintillating presence of the recently promoted première danseuse, Hannah O’Neill.

The programme, however, clearly indicated Benjamin Millepied’s intention to steer the Paris company towards U.S. neo-classicism, presenting pieces that American dancers know and dance well.  Such works could have been danced by any number of good, classically trained companies throughout the world.

Patricia Boccadoro writes on dance in Europe. She has contributed to The Guardian, The Observer and Dancing Times and was dance consultant to the BBC Omnibus documentary on Rudolf Nureyev. Based in Paris,  Patricia Boccadoro is the dance editor for Culturekiosque.

[ Feedback | Home ]

If you value this page, please send it to a friend.


Copyright © 2016 Euromedia Group, Ltd. All Rights Reserved.