Happy International Dance Day!

And so, it has come!

First things first: here is a link to the IDD 2012 message by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. (You can also look around and see why today is designated as IDD)

Now, the videos for today I had decided a long time ago. The ballet ones, in fact, inspired the whole series. The contemporary ones, well, I think you’ll understand when you see them. I think I’m going to miss this daily posts!!

To start with I have a video of Marianela dancing Gamzatti that I’ve been obsessing over for a good while now. The perfect moment, and one by the book here (technique, music, artistry, all come together in one second) is around 2:16, but it’s better if you pick it up a bit before, say beginning of that amazing pirouette at 2:12. I have no words for this moment, so I’ll just leave you with it.

And an all time favourite, that I always happen to find when I’m looking for nothing on YouTube, the great Baryshnikov in Giselle. Again is the end of a turn that I’m going to choose. And this happens to be the end of a variation too. But it is another case of sheer perfection: technical excellence, musicality and expression (the way his head and arms go up in that last turn a la seconde, for example). You can catch the turn I’m talking about around 0:52. But again, and the same with Nuñez’s variation, watch the whole thing, it is much better 🙂

And now for the contemporary, a creative force that left us rich, but orphans, Pina Bausch. I could give you a hundred different perfect moments from her work, but I will try to give you just enough to make you go and watch some more! And by the way, if you haven’t seen Pina, the movie, do, it’s a beautiful experience. I’m not choosing perfect moments here, it is such a personal experience and it makes so much more sense when watched as a whole. I’m leaving you with a short extract though, so it’s a perfect moment in full 😉

And to finish, the beautiful Pina herself.

Tomorrow is the big day :)

And for that, I’m giving you a treat, or maybe I’m giving myself a treat? Nevermind, ladies and gentleman: probably the most amazing combination in the world, Jolina and Manon!! (Well, Jolina and pretty much anything but… ;)) (Sorry, for those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, Jolina is the partnership of Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg). Ok, so MacMillan’s Manon is already amazing as it is, specially in the first act pas de deux. Give it a good partnership and you have a perfect moment throughout, but I’m going to give you three perfect moments today…

My perfect moment: 4:20, the moment when the music builds up and Des Grieux picks up Manon and turns. It is especially good when done on the music, as it is in this video.
One little example of why I adore Jolina is very clear at 4:48, in the way she turns her head to face him while turning. It’s in this kind of details that true artistry resides, in my opinion.
And one guest perfect moment! The lovely Dave (if you haven’t already, check out his blog! DaveTriesBallet) chooses the moment Manon goes to the floor with her back arched to hold on to Des Grieux, beautiful!!! You can see it here around 4:52. Thanks Dave!

And here, the video 🙂

And for our contemporary choice today, Paul Lightfoot and Sol Leon! Lightfoot recently appointed Artistic Director of Nederlands Dance Theatre, both have been collaborating to create work for both NDT and NDT2 for a while, with amazing results! Here, just an example. Note the use of carpet here, this use of elements in the choreography is one of the strongest things in NDT (and the gorgeous dancers, amazing choreography, etc. ;)), inherited directly from the master Kylian. My moment here is the end, the moment when the carpet is about to be rolled completely and they just do one more movement together before she steps front and he goes back. It’s around 4:40, and after there’s a lovely image too with his back to the audience and her fading with the light.

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