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Kermes in BrüggeNeumeier in Brügge


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#1 Effy

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Posted 22 May 2005 - 12:02 PM

As promised by Lloyd Riggins at the introduction matinee, his take on The Kermesse in Brugge has passed through the John Neumeier grinder for updating a balllet. And indeed the first act especially was full of Neumeierisque effect like turning the slovanka dancers into a band of jesters, but still using a verfremdung technique - we re all dancers in modern time, eg the women keeping their modern haistyles. As preparation Riggins has spend time in Brugge trying to capture the feeling of the ciy to bring into his version, but apperantly no one had explained to him, that Bounonville had no relation to Brügge, neither had he any intention of creating a piece about Brügge. What Bournonville wanted was to use the scenery of Flemish paintings as backdrop for a light comedy.

Riggins is wery well aware of the great 1978 version by Hans Brenaa with costumes by Lars Juhl, He had danced the role of Carelis as a hand me down from Ib Andersen, Brenaas original Carelis. The Brenaa version was the toast of the first Bournonville festival,an elegant, vitty and extreamly wellcast ballet with Ib Andersen, Mette-Ida Kirk, Niels Kehlet and Kirsten Simone leading a perfect cast. It maybe matched but it could not be bettered. But after the original cast outgrow their parts it became difficult for the company to maintain the high level and suddenly the ballet lost its sparcle. An attempt to change the ballet but keep the costumes failed. It was build on an effort to bring out the darker and deeper content of the work. So enter Riggins and Rikke Juhllund. Like the last attemp he tries to downplay the comedy. He tries to simplify the glamour, a fine teory but seems to forget that Kermesse do not deliver substance, but style and details, and when you cut down on those, there is little left. It may be that research showns that velvet was not worn by the middle class in 16th century Brügge, but chosing wollen beige, crimpy textiles do not really help present classical dancing and the pale colours makes it difficuly for the main caracters to register, especially in contract to the noicy red slovanka dancers. Neither does pale dressed noblemen register when hidding in the back wings. From the best intentions Riggins deals his cast a very difficult hand. In the catalog to the current exhibiton on Bournonville costumes, Anne Marie Vessel is likewise critical on the opulence of the 978 Brenaa/Juul production, but the steps demands volume, like when Trutje parades her daughters down stage. You need three full skirts to build the figure, but now you have a small long shirt and two 1950 styles suits and it does not register, neither helps the dancer to make standout characters.

I cannot help compare Riggins strategy to Nicolaij Hubbes. Hubbe respects the tradition and builds on tradition, Riggins want to challenge the tradition, but has little to offer, rather than turning the ballet into a copycat Neumeier approach.

La Ventana was well danced, but allthough the decor was striking I could not help noticing that the title prop of the ballet La Ventana (the Window) was strangely missing. In short I must conclude that Bournonville made two ballet inspired by respectively Spanish dancing and Flemish painting - RDB has just presented the two pieces as inspired by Spanish painting and Flemish dancing.

#2 Alexandra

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Posted 22 May 2005 - 01:49 PM

Thanks for writing about the new Kermesse, Effy -- disappointing indeed. I love your point about painting -- it's so basic to Bournonville, but they miss it.

As preparation Riggins has spend time in Brugge trying to capture the feeling of the ciy to bring into his version, but apperantly no one had explained to him, that Bounonville had no relation to Brügge, neither had he any intention of creating a piece about Brügge. What Bournonville wanted was to use the scenery of Flemish paintings as backdrop for a light comedy.


Exactly!

#3 Mary

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 02:06 AM

i dont have much to say about the new kermesse, just that i was about to fall a sleep. maria lund was good


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