The Royal Ballet 2003
The Royal Ballet
Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
London, United Kingdom
May 2129, 2003
Reviewed by Allan Ulrich
The Royal Ballet advertised David Bintleys Les Saisons as the companys contemporary creation of the 200203 season, but "contemporary" stretched the point a bit; the most forward-looking of Englands leading classicists has spurned the steamy narratives he has favored in the past for an elegantly appointed forty-five-minute romp through Petipa territory. The music, one of Alexander Glazunovs finest ballet scores, served for one of Petipas final Maryinsky commissions, a tribute to reigning assoluta Mathilda Kschessinskaya; it summoned from Bintley a four-part abstraction that generally hewed to the composers original libretto and sought formal rigor by bringing on its pack of soloists for farewell turns at the end.
In its details, Les Saisons (The Seasons) commands respect for its fluency of gesture. That much was clear during the opening "Winter" section, when Jamie Tapper led her four frosty minionsDeirdre Chapman, Lauren Cuthbertson, Mara Galeazzi, and Marianela Nuñezthrough a series of variations, marked by arched backs and corkscrewing trajectories. "Spring" brought a gorgeous pas de deux for the devastatingly appealing Alina Cojocaru and the elegantly proportioned Johan Kobborg; Bintley reverses the traditional roles. Cojocaru is the pursuer; Kobborg is the delightfully reticent object of desire.
The showier "Summer" duet united the reliable Jonathan Cope with the relentlessly ingratiating Isabel McMeekan for a more conventional allegro pairing, and "Autumn" summoned Martin Harvey and a sextet of randy satyr figures out of Jerome Robbinss Four Seasons. Even when the choreography falls into routine, Bintley sustains a mood of fête galante. One merely hoped for something more adventurous for this return to The Royal. The major assets of the production included Peter J. Davisons delicately brocaded backdrops and Mark Hendersons ultra-modern lighting schemestriking bars of illumination that denote the changes in the calendar.
Beyond Les Saisons, The Royals program mined the companys legacy for two masterworks from an earlier eraFrederick Ashtons Scènes de ballet and Kenneth Macmillans Song of the Earth, both in startlingly good performances. Ashtons geometric 1948 abstraction seems a great gesture of consolidation, melding Balanchine neoclassicism with a typically English reticence. André Beaurepaires de Chirico-esque backdrops and his harlequinade costumes have acquired the patina of history, but the movement remains timeless. In Cojocaru and Kobborg, The Royal has found interpreters to cherish; only a male corps, occasionally missing the requisite stamina, besmirched this revival. Barry Wordsworth conducted the Stravinsky score with uncommon élan.
Most ballets set to Gustav Mahler music owe a debt to the 1965 Song of the Earth, an hour-long saga of death and renewal, set to the famous song-cycle, indifferently rendered by mezzo-soprano Jean Rigby and tenor John Daszak. Carlos Acostas charismatic Messenger of Death, fearsome yet empathetic, compared with the finest exponents of the past. Tamara Rojos overt sensuality and Copes infinitely compassionate partnering skills generated a high level of tension. That the revival was staged by The Royals recently appointed director, Monica Mason (an unforgettable exponent of Song of the Earth in an earlier era) surely helped this new generation of MacMillan interpreters. Call it the good fairys kiss.
Capezio, Bloch, So Dança, Gaynor Minden.
At the top of the line, dancers have plenty of quality footwear options to choose from, and in most metropolitan areas, stores to go try them on. But for many of North America's most economically disadvantaged dance students, there has often been just one option for purchasing footwear in person: Payless ShoeSource.
When Sonya Tayeh saw Moulin Rouge! for the first time, on opening night at a movie theater in Detroit, she remembers not only being inspired by the story, but noticing the way it was filmed.
"What struck me the most was the pace, and the erratic feeling it had," she says. The camera's quick shifts and angles reminded her of bodies in motion. "I was like, 'What is this movie? This is so insane and marvelous and excessive,' " she says. "And excessive is I think how I approach dance. I enjoy the challenge of swiftness, and the pushing of the body. I love piling on a lot of vocabulary and seeing what comes out."
Back when Robbie Fairchild graced the cover of the May 2018 issue of Dance Magazine, he mentioned an idea for a short dance film he was toying around with. That idea has now come to fruition: In This Life, starring Fairchild and directed by dance filmmaker Bat-Sheva Guez, is being screened at this year's Dance on Camera Festival.
While the film itself covers heavy material—specifically, how we deal with grief and loss—the making of it was anything but: "It was really weird to have so much fun filming a piece about grief!" Fairchild laughs. We caught up with him, Guez and Christopher Wheeldon (one of In This Life's five choreographers) to find out what went into creating the 11-minute short film.
When Hollywood needs to build a fantasy world populated with extraordinary creatures, they call Terry Notary.
The former gymnast and circus performer got his start in film in 2000 when Ron Howard asked him to teach the actors how to move like Whos for How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Notary has since served as a movement choreographer, stunt coordinator and performer via motion capture technology for everything from the Planet of the Apes series to The Hobbit trilogy, Avatar, Avengers: Endgame and this summer's The Lion King.
Since opening the Industry Dance Academy with his wife, Rhonda, and partners Maia and Richard Suckle, Notary also offers movement workshops for actors in Los Angeles.