To Sir Frederick Ashton’s fast footwork and musicality belongs the Australian Ballet’s double bill “The Dream” and “Marguerite & Armand.” To the charming misadventure distillation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream bubbles “The Dream.” To the legend of Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev, dovetails Amy Harris’s Marguerite, in Harris’s last stage role before her retirement. After 22-years with the company, Harris bids farewell in a delicious camellia-bloom, echoing Marguerite’s own departure (thankfully for altogether different reasons; Harris is retiring from the stage, whereas her character Marguerite is dying of tuberculous).FREE ARTICLE
There were high expectations for Staatsballett Berlin’s double bill featuring two well-known choreographers, Alexander Ekman and Sharon Eyal. “Lib,” which stands for Liberty, by Alexander Ekman is a collaboration with hair designer and artist Charlie Le Mindu: In fact, the evening opens with a man wearing a long vertical wig on his head, seated in the auditorium, while the spectators take their places. The performance has already started but only some realise it. He slowly and casually moves towards the stage and once there he entertains with some foolish movements and poses. Then, one by one, four graceful dancers enter the stage to warm up virtuosically. Two dancers face each other, compulsively communicating through motions, and appear as ‘frenemies.’ They keep performing long, stretchy, strong and elegant movements that paint the horizon with marvellous lines until a blonde hairy being abruptly enters the stage. The ballerinas, now puzzled, observe him as an odd outsider before leaving him behind. The hairy creature performs his own energetic solo, and although the movements are recognizable, they are entirely enveloped by the bizarre costume. The solo is followed by the quintet wearing various forms of whole-body wigs of human hair. The colours are earthy and the movements are humourless despite the costumes.
Polina Semionova and Ksenia Ovsyanick in “Lib” by Alexander Ekman. Photograph by Jubal Battisti
When a choreographer takes on volcanic and iconic works from American musical giants like Leonard Bernstein and John Adams one move they could take is to cool them down with a couple of more soothing European works in between.Continue Reading