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By Patricia Boccadoro

PARIS, 6 MARCH 2015Rain, created by the Belgian choreographer, Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, for her company, Rosas, in 2001 is one of her most popular works. Set to a mesmerizing, "minimalist" score by Steve Reich, and danced by 10 members of the corps de ballet of the Paris Opéra Ballet, one of the finest in the world, the restaging of the piece, first performed by the company three years ago, gave an enthusiastic public the chance to discover or rediscover this fascinating ballet.

A curtain of shimmering ropes hung down from an immense golden spiral, forming a dramatic semi-circle across the back of the stage, the whole bathed in a soft, golden light, light which subtly changed according to the developing mood of the piece. The dancers, three men and seven women who emerged from behind the curtain, wore attractive, drifting costumes designed by Dries van Noten, first in shades of beige, cream and caramel,  changing as the work progressed into pinks of differing intensity, reflecting the varying mood of the interpreters.

Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker's Rain
Paris Opera Ballet

The dancers marched onto the stage, looking at the audience before running barefoot around in a circle. Their varied trajectories criss-crossed like so many pick-up sticks before they  came together in groups of four or two, only to break away again before barely touching. Music and dance became as one as the dancers spun, turned, and drifted together before falling apart. There were high soft leaps, lifts high in the air with the dancers always on the move, and long grand jetés across the stage, accomplished with that grace, beauty and apparent ease inherent to the opera dancers. In perpetual movement, they seemed to relish in the apparent freedom given by the choreography.

Acrobatics and rolling on the floor there was, but performed with grace and poise, with effortless flowing movements. The three young men, all superb contemporary dancers, were in complete osmosis with the score despite the lesser interest of their choreography.

Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker's Rain
Paris Opera Ballet

Rain is well-constructed and intense, and setting it to Steve Reich’s Music for Eighteen Musicians, was a stroke of genius. The score, one of the American composer’s outstanding creations, complemented the work and was magnificently interpreted by the Ensemble Ictus conducted by Georges-Elie Octors. Indeed, the four pianos, two xylophones, three marimbas, women’s voices as well as the clarinettes, violin and cello, were a show in themselves, the quality and energy of their performance reflecting the commitment of the dancers.

Based in Paris,  Patricia Boccadoro is the dance editor for CulturekiosqueShe last wrote on Pina Bausch's Tanztheater Wuppertal.


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