Thursday, March 30, 2006


This evening (28th March) featured a mixed bill by the Royal Ballet. I look forward to Wheeldon's Polyphonia, Macmillan's Requiem and the highly anticipated new work for the company by the Canadian choreographer Matjash Mrozewski, Castle Nowhere.
I have seen New York City Ballet's and San Francisco Ballet's production of Wheeldon's Polyphonia. To me, it seemed evidently Balanchine's influence lays strong in the dancers' technique and style. The Royal Ballet, gave quite a different atmosphere. As an audience, I felt the sense of quirkiness and humor in their movements, yet with utmost professionalism. One to mention, Alexandra Ansanelli's solo was remarkable. Her technique is clean and defined. One could see the influence of Balanchine's style in the execution. Sarah Lamb send out a most alluring performance. Her pas de deux with Gary Avis shows extreme fluidity and dynamic. Henry Roche's solo piano on Ligeti's score was commendable. Ligeti's music is pure genius. One needs to listen to it, to feel the immense creativity. Wheeldon's choreography is brilliant. The harmonic use of space and structure gave a sense of comfort and satisfaction. Also, Wheeldon's interpretation of music through his movements and spatial patterns created depths in the music and the dancing. To conclude on his piece, "MORE MORE MORE!!!"

Matjash Mrozewski's Castle Nowhere, is a much-hyped piece, prior to the opening and following performances. Hence, I believe this would be the reason for the numerous negative reviews of this item. Personally, I have to say... I believe his intentions. However, everything of that piece did not fall together. To begin with, the music by Arvo Part, did not seemed to tie in with the choreography. I felt that some parts of the choreography were made before the music was added. I am not implying that this is not a choreography method, however, there should still be an amount of synchronization. The stage design: when the curtains rose, the stage was in complete blackness, the lights were minimal, about 1/3 towards the top of the stage, hung candelabrum, busts, picture frames, and other furniture, almost like a bomb blew up in the room, and that image was captured on stage. When Mrozewski talked about his piece in the Insight Evening about his stage design, he was excited and describe the props to be hanging from the top, like a bomb exploded, etc... which indeed, that was what it is, however, what i had in mind, was a more random positioning of props, rather than all props aligned carefully downstage. The costumes of the female dancers did not seemed to do them and the choreographer any justice. The outfits were Edwardian period inspired. The silhouette, colors, fabrications were brilliantly designed and worn by the dancers. However, they had no function to the choreography. The skirts were too long, one was unable to see if the dancers are on pointe, or on demipointe or even on flat, also, no one could see if the dancers have the leg in a petit retire, or a full retire. As for the men's costumes, they looked well tailored, making the dancers looked all smart, dashing and charming. But... once again, it did not function well... the backdrop, floormat were black, and so were the men's suits. It did not enhance the male's line and silhouette. From the pictures, it looked like the man just pop his head and chest from nowhere.
Personally, I believe Mrozewski is a fantastic choreographer, for his pas de deux for Edward Watson and Zenaida Yanowsky was well crafted. (However not everyone think likewise) Both dancers executed their movements with conviction. I applaud Mrozewski for the casting of these 2 dancers for the pas de deux. Both dancers appearance seemed icy cold. However, when the two begin their pas de deux, one could feel the ice starts to melt, and the emotions displayed on both faces begin to show warmth and longing for each other. Personally, i am not too sure if this was the reaction Mrozewski was aiming from his audience, but i feel a sense of pain and dejection, and the atmosphere was uneasy yet familiar. Both dancers' movements were coordinated, and fluid. It was the highlight for me to watch these two dancers perform together. I just wanted to just shout out to Ed and Zen : DON'T STOP!!!... It was amazing how two person could build up the entire atmostphere in such a large space. remarkable...however the problem was... Mrozewski did not appear to handle corp de ballet well. his 3 other couples didn't seemed to have any storyline or characterisation. and the movement motifs for these couples seemed vaguely impressive. One ponders on the purpose of the supporting couples. Did he just have them on stage just to fill up places, to support the leading couples just by standing, running around in circles? it was worrying. If his work was just a pas de deux for ed and zen, it would be a wonderful display of choreography. Nevertheless... I did enjoyed my time at the opera house. and i look forward to tomorrow's casts.

It begins...

I have always been interested in dance writing, hopefully with this blog, I would be able to practice my writings in the context of dance reviews. All comments are most welcome.