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Iņaki Urlezaga and his “Ballet Concierto”


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#1 silvy

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Posted 04 November 2003 - 12:59 PM

This is my review of a performance of the above that took place last Friday October 31 in Montevideo-Uruguay

Iņaki Urlezaga is a premier danseur with Britain’s Royal Ballet in London. He was born in Argentina and studied at the Colon Theatre in Buenos Aires, Argentina before obtaining a scholarship for the School of American Ballet in NYC. He has his own company by the name of “Ballet Concierto”, which is a chamber company mainly comprised of Argentinian young dancers. Last Oct 31 I saw a performance of that group in Montevideo - Uruguay, which I am reviewing now (this my first serious attempt at dance reviewing so I hope to be forgiven by you for mistakes, etc).

The pieces that were presented were:
1) Argentinian Suite – choreography by Ana Maria Stekelman and Federico Fleitas - Music by Ariel Ramirez and Gerardo Mattos Rodriguez This was danced by the ensemble of 11 dancers, including Urlezaga himself, who were all dressed in loose pants and T’s, with what looked like jazz shoes from the back row where I was seated. Stekelman is one of the most brilliant contemporary Argentinian choreographers but somehow I felt this piece was not up to her usual high standards. Nevertheless, the pieces contained some remarkable moments, as when the male dancers were doing a sort of traditionally Argentinian malambo, and from there went on to pirouette, of jumps. This was danced to themes by Ariel Ramirez. In a moment in the ballet the “contemporary” dancers left the stage, and from a cloud of smoke appeared a couple who danced “La Cumparsita” (a very well known tango composed by the Uruguayan composer Gerardo Mattos Rodriguez). This tango was danced very much “close to the floor”, as tango should be danced, but acrobatic jumps were added in the middle of the piece. I really liked it, because the spirit of tango was never missed despite the jumps and so on. Then the ensemble reappeared, alternating with couples dancing duets, to reach the conclusion in which everybody was present (except the tango couple, who maybe were dressed as everybody at the end)

2) Corsaire Suite. This was comprised of the 3 odalisques pas de trois, complete with variations and coda, and the Corsaire pdd. The 3 odalisques looked very well rehearsed, with good upper body use. The pdd couple were Iņaki and Andrea Pumar, who according to the stagebill, is a principal dancer at the Carolina Ballet in USA. I must say that I had expected more of Urlezaga, but at the same time I noticed that he was probably not dancing full out due to the floor being too hard. In fact, his partner slipped during the adagio, but luckily he managed to prevent her from falling. I thought that she would be nervous afterwards, but she tackled her variation and coda with remarkable calmness. Nevertheless, I found Pumar lacking in expression, and did not like her use of hands and upper torso, but I understand she must have been very nervous by then. As to Urlezaga, he is a premier danseur, but not yet a star, though the technical part was very cleanly presented.

3) “Melody” – music: Gluck – choreography: Lilian Giovine (artistic director of the company). Dancers: Alejandra Baldoni – Federico Gomez. This was a piece well known to the Uruguayan ballet audience. I found it well danced, but was not too remarkably so.

4) “Claire de Lune” – Music: Debussy – Choreography: Guiselle Della Monica. Dancers: Fernanda Colmegna – Leandro Ferreira. This is a neoclassical duet which was very well danced indeed. The stage lights used were very appropriate to the piece.

5) “Bolero” – Music: Ravel – Choreography: Miguel Angel Elias. This was a most unusual “bolero” in that the choroegraphy did not mirror the crescendo of the music in adding more dancers as the music “grows”. Instead, grouping were used, even duets, at the moments when one would have expected the whole ensemble. The chorography contained some very innovative moves, so I found it an interesting piece.

To sum up, I must say that I liked the show but was not dazzled by it. Maybe I and most of the audience had expected more. I admire of Urlezaga in that, though he is a principal dancer in a very important company, he is still very humble boy, and that is what, precisely, he lacks to be a “star” – he even gave hand to some member of the audience who wanted to hold his during his final bows. Also I appreciate that he was gathered a group of young dancers and given them jobs, which are so difficult to come by these days, especially in this part of the world

silvy

#2 Alexandra

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Posted 04 November 2003 - 01:42 PM

It's a wonderful review, silvy -- thank you. This is a company that many of us would never read about otherwise. Companies of this size and scope are tremendously important to young dancers -- and audiences. I hope you'll write more about what you're seeing this season!

#3 carbro

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Posted 04 November 2003 - 09:10 PM

Thanks so much for your very informative review, Silvy. :wink: I often wonder how much and what kinds of ballet you get to see in Uruguay. This is, I'm sure, but one example. Please send more as you can.

#4 silvy

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Posted 05 November 2003 - 04:49 AM

Thanks so much for your support, Alexandra and Carbro. I will keep you informed of what I see down here. There is not much, unfortunately. That is why I take every opportunity to see what company comes by, or travel to Buenos Aires to see the the Colon Theatre Ballet, and, of course, do a great deal of video watching!!!!!!
:rolleyes:

silvy

#5 Helene

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Posted 05 November 2003 - 09:28 AM

I'm so glad you posted your review! Maybe Urlezaga will be able to bring his company on a North American or European tour, like Julia Bocca is doing. I would love to see Stekelman's choreography -- you've whetted my appetite :)

#6 silvy

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Posted 05 November 2003 - 12:58 PM

Glad that I have whetted your appetite, Helene!!!!!!

Stekelman has her own company by the name of Tangokinesis. Her work mingles tango movements with contemporary dance ones, but all her dancers are classically trained, or at least they look so. It can take your breath away at times.

silvy



#7 silvy

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Posted 11 November 2003 - 07:53 AM

Hi

Here is Iņaki's webpage:

www.inakiurlezaga.com

There you will find information about his company "Ballet Concierto" as well as information about himself

Hope you find it interesting

Silvy


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