2 days to go

And for today…. Swan Lake! This has been one of my favourite ballet moments for as long as I remember, starting with that VHS (I’m not that old, but…) of Makhalina and Zelensky that I pretty much killed because of watching it continuously. So I’m leaving you with one of the most beautiful classical ballet pas de deux there is… White Swan.
My pick is the moment Odette does a developpe to the front, then “falls” back and Siegfried catches her, in this video it is around 50:00 (long video ;)). To be honest I prefer when the guy waits for her to go a bit further back before catching her, but here is done beautifully with the music and her arms are so swan-like…, so I don’t mind that much. Also lovely that just at the end of the second repetition the music changes and the swans start moving more, sheer perfection!

And for the contemporary pick, I thought we should give a bit of space to video dance or dance for camera. Now this is a huge field, and some companies/choreographers have been working a lot through this medium, but I also wanted to pay homage to one of the most clever choreographers around… William Forsythe. We have had the opportunity to watch his Artifact, a piece created in 1984 that uses a lot of ideas that are being presented as innovative now (ok, this is personal opinion, but isn’t that what a blog is for? :P). So I’m leaving you with one of his works for camera, One Flat Thing Reproduced. I’m going to choose the sequence with the two male dancers around 2:22. Because it has great dynamics, great use of space/tables and a fantastic way of relating their movements together. But it is all very cool (who wouldn’t want to pull the tables like that?)


3 days to go!!

Here we go lovely people! On today’s menu: La Bayadere! I love this ballet, it’s got pretty much everything I like in a ballet. My favourite thing, however, has to be Nikiya’s variation, the music is lovely, the choreography too, and it’s so tragic!! Anyway, I love it too because  I loved dancing it (for my exams!! among other occasions).
Ok, so you’re clear now that I love everything about it. My choice of “perfect moment” is not exactly in the variation, and is the reason why I have this particular version (apart from the fact that Isabelle Guerin is absolutely exquisite)… It’s the death, my moment, it’s the way it’s done in this version, the way she bends back and is off balance just enough so that it looks like he’s getting her before she falls, and then the way her whole body is kind of “whipped” back with the impulse, and then she falls… (I warned you I liked the tragedy). You can see it here from 6:45, but I wouldn’t miss all the variation before 😉

And… because not all is tragedy, and we’re being lucky and we’re getting a couple more of his pieces in London in the next months, the contemporary choice today is… Itzik Galili. You will all remember him as the master behind the stunning A Linha Curva, that Rambert Dance Company danced not long ago. Here is Ud, Us and Hiccups, a collaboration with music band NO blues. If the piece before was tragedy, this one is ease. Two such amazing movers, lovely music and a style that makes you want to sway along! My pick is the partnering sequence from 2:14 till the lift on his back, but really it’s all a delight. And I’m not one for dedicating things, but can I make an exception and give this one to our lovely co-director Sara Accettura? Not only does she love Galili, she was the person who showed me this video. And she’s such a gorgeous dancer I really wish I get to see her dancing his work one day! 😉

4 days to go

Ok, easy choice today. I’m going with the amazing Mikhail Baryshnikov! Here in Don Q. My favourtie moment here? Well… shamefully… the cups hitting the floor on music 😉

And for contemporary today… Mr Duato! Yes, yes, I know, he’s sometimes controversial, and not very loved in this lands… But you have to understand, when I started dancing he was The Choreographer in Spain (there were more, obviously, but not so well known) and we all loved his early style, and I also like some of his later and his movement in general… Anyway, I’m going for the early type, one of his better known pieces, I think, Arenal. Here you can see Earth in a beautiful solo and then a trio in a very Duato-like structure, two male dancers and one female dancer. I especially love Earth, the small sequence around 0:06 to 0:09 ish (her feet…)!, and the intricacy and energy of the trio.

5 days to go

So here I am again, second day of the run up to tha International Day of Dance.

Today I have, I believe, a bit of a controversial choice of videos. Or maybe not?

My “ballet” choice  (or rather “balletic”) is Infra, by Wayne McGregor. I don’t always like what Mr McGregor does, you probably all know that by now. But Infra is one of the ones I like, possibly the best for me. Anyway, the moment on this video is more than clear, check out that amazing adage movement, I’m not even sure how to describe it. It’s 1:44 to 1:46 ish in the video. I have to admit, the fact that it is a Nuñez/Watson pas de deux doesn’t hurt either, gosh they’re beautiful… 😉

And for my next video, the contemporary choice, I’m going with Jiri Kylian’s Bella Figura, so I guess I have to warn you that this video contains partial nudity (though you’d know already I’m sure). Anyway, I’m not choosing this for a particular moment in the video (I find the whole thing gorgeous and love the fact that male and female dancers are made equal in this choice of attire), but for a particular, personal, moment in time: it feels like a hundred years ago, but I guess it was more within the range of… 13/14, in Spain they decided to have a TV show with Nacho Duato, showing his choice of videos of works to show people the kind of dance we weren’t really seeing in Spain 😛 They also decided that the best time slot for this programme was a Sunday night, well, around 1am Monday really… (I’m being generally mean, but this is true). So I watched it every Sunday/Monday and a friend of mine that didn’t have anything to do with dance watched it too (if you’re reading this, which I doubt, hi Santi! :)). When Bella Figura came up in one of the TV shows he said that he loved the fact that in the Dance World this could happen (he was referring to the nudity) without anyone going crazy about it, because we were all used to working with the body. I’m not entirely sure if he was right or not, but I loved his vision of the openness of the dance world. So here we go, Kylian’s Bella Figura


6 days to go

For the International Day of Dance. And what a better occasion to pick up this poor abandoned blog! So here’s what I’m going to do: every day of this week I’ll share one ballet video and one contemporary dance video from which I’d choose a “perfect moment”. A moment where everything comes together and just plainly works to perfection.
You’re hereby invited to send me your own ideas of perfect moments, and I’ll share all that I can here too.

For today, however, I’m adding one more dimension to the idea: today I want to say Happy Books Day (I know, it’s all a bit confusing, I believe here in the UK it’s actually called Books Night, but in Spain we celebrate Books Day today and I just can’t let go of this one ;))

So my choices are to do with stories coming from books. And also, for the ballet video, I’ve chosen to homage the great Tamara Rojo, as she was newly appointed director of ENB as you all well know by now. Congratulations and best of luck to her! (And if the second video can serve as a hint, better even :P)

So here they are, the partnership that we’re all crying for 😉 Anyway, my choice is not so much of a moment I have to admit… It’s the whole of Juliet’s variation. I think in there comes together all that is Juliet, and the beautiful music and the masterful choreography, and I love the way Tamara interprets it!

The second, contemporary dance video, is for Lorca and Mats Ek. The House of Bernarda Alba in Ek’s interpretation. If you’re Spanish speaking, excuse the swearing! 😉 Also notable in this video, the superb Ana Laguna.

I have to admit that I’m not all convinced by this version (though I’m dying to see it live!!), but that’s because I adore Lorca’s work and his symbolism and obviously Ek did his own thing with the play. I guess they’re just two very strong creative forces put together! The result, as you see, it’s explosive 😉 My moments in this video would be the beginning of the music, and the end, everything is just packed together there.

And that’s all for today, enjoy! and wait for more tomorrow!!

The power of numbers 1: A Linha Curva, Itzik Galili

Yes, I know, I said that I’d have the post ready “tomorrow” and it’s been more than two months… I have to say in my defense that it’s been “almost finished” since then, but I always had something going on to leave it for another day… Anyway, here we go!

Let’s start by saying that towards the end of this piece during Rambert Dance Company’s triple bill, I could barely stay sitting (and so was the situation for lots of people around me). This work by Galili has all the ingredients to make it impossible for you to walk out feeling indifference (which is something that I’m missing quite a lot in contemporary dance lately).

What are some of these ingredients?
Music!! The rhythm of Percossa will make you dance even if you try really hard not to! And the movement, following this rhythm, is as contagious. This is also accentuated by the fact that the music is live, and that the percussion is also accompanied by vocals and clapping and all other sort of things, which give a party mood all the way through the work.
Lighting. Well, it is just genius, not only because of the way it is designed, and the colours, but also because it is dynamic, it changes with the dancers, it evolves. Probably the most striking lighting for dance shows is that in which the lights and the movement are choreographed together. (Think Russell Maliphant and Michael Hull, specially Afterlight).
Meaning. Well, there is not much on this piece wherever you look, apart from people talking about it being “sexi” and “streetwise”. I believe I read somewhere that it did have something to do with sexuality, and in a way with how it is seen (or challenged) from the group. But I might be making this up too… Memory doesn’t really cooperate with me this days! 😉

And on to the bit that  is more important to us (in a way…), the movement!
And how is the movement? Well, it is loose, very technical but looking effortless and almost careless. It is in unison most of the time and very rhythmical. It is also interesting movement! (What a surprise!) Movement that could be used in a solo and that it is made much more effective and impressive because of the number of dancers.

I’m going to show two videos of this today, one by Rambert Dance Company, and one by the Ballet of the City of Sao Paulo. Both great in this work, but I do believe that the video shows Rambert a bit tighter in the unison work.

So having a look at the video of  Ballet of the City of Sao Paulo.

Things that I can see here:
The soloist “against” the group, a feature used a lot , for example, in Pina Bausch’s work. We can see it here at 1:25 and see how it works wonderful to give sense and strength to both parts.
From 1:35 we can see a series of changes in which the lines move along the stage with the light changing to make them disappear and appear again in another spot. The movement is just a repeating sequence that the two different lines do at different moments (or two shorter sequences that they alternate, if you like), so nothing really fancy, but the effect is great. Then, from 2:07, they move on to a different direction too, so that we end with a cross, and a soloist in the middle. This moment is intricate and beautiful, and then develops adding another line and another soloist.
At 3:40 there is another moment of great choreography, a contrast of speed, where the big group is moving slowly, and the back line is moving fast. It is not only a very clever way of combining movement, it is original in that it reverses the usual way of drawing attention to those in front.
And at 6:20, the great finale… with just one dancer moving in silence!! After all the busy work, this ending is just bliss! So clever…

About the Rambert video then…

0:46, the dancer making a square all around the stage is a clever way of making them relate to each other (also by being in unison) without looking at each other or being directly linked in formation or gaze. Also, the simplicity of the movement allows the viewer to  enjoy the shape more and produces a sort of soothing effect very becoming to the piece.
0:51 impressive hey? Who knew clapping and walking could have such an impact! Again this 0:56 and it’s brought to another level by the very very cool movement in 1:00.
And to finish, at 1:04 we get a glimpse of the strong power of number (especially when as together as Rambert’s are here).

I’m going to finish giving you a bit of a review by Judith Mackrell on this very smae piece on Rambert (from the 14th May 2009)

“But with a cast of 24 – made to look even bigger by the intensity of the lighting, the ramped-up percussion of the live band, and the tightly driven patterns of the choreography – the impact of the piece becomes irresistible”.

Completely agree! And it is irresistible for me to, once again, reference to the lovely girls of The Ballet Bag, in this case to Linda, the ballet physicist! ;), who once said that “in ballet as in nature, one really needs to gather mass to generate huge amounts of energy!”