Posted 09 May 2010 - 11:50 AM
Are any BalletTalkers going to these performances? I'm REALLY curious to hear people's opinions about these shows.
Posted 09 May 2010 - 12:10 PM
Posted 10 May 2010 - 04:22 PM
I'm looking foward to reading your thoughts, Jane. Good luck w/ the volcano!
Posted 10 June 2010 - 11:20 AM
Royal Danish Ballet
Posted 11 June 2010 - 09:38 AM
I was glad to hear that Sakurai is back and looks like he's in good shape. None of the Danish reviewers have mentioned him at all, which is quite odd, as he has been away from the stage in close to 2 years.
Posted 24 June 2010 - 05:09 PM
Former Company member Stephen Pier recently returned from setting "The Unsung" on the Royal Danish Ballet, so we asked him to write about his experiences.
Tell us why this was a special experience for you.
SP: My personal connection to both the José Limón Company and the Royal Danish Ballet is rather profound and, I must say, somewhat unique as I had the rare pleasure of dancing with both of these great companies. I've always believed that José and Bournonville shared certain common values. They were both interested in the development of men's dancing. They shared a commitment to exploring the deeper aspects of the human experience through dance. They both sought to elevate dance as an art form beyond mere entertainment.
How did it go?
SP: I was slightly apprehensive before I started, knowing how physically and mentally demanding "The Unsung" is for the dancers and not knowing how these very classically trained dancers would take to it. From the first day, however the dancers were completely enthralled and gave everything they had to the process. They held nothing back. The director, Nikolaj Hubbe, who fell in love with the piece years ago, was present at many rehearsals and told me the dancers had come to him to tell him how much they were getting out of the process and how much they loved the piece. They were so eager that I prepared two casts to afford as many of them as possible the opportunity to work on it. The company arranged to add extra rehearsals to accommodate that. Throughout the process, company members kept coming up saying how excited everyone was to be doing this work. Many of them came to watch rehearsals of other sections. The crowning moment was, as it should be, the premiere. The men pulled together fantastically and I knew after the first set of taps that they were "in the zone". They really entered another world together. The audience was in shock! Wonderful ovations! Most of all, I was pleased that these dancers clearly understood what this piece and this way of dancing was about. It was meaningful to them, to me, and to all who saw it.
What memories do you have of dancing "The Unsung" yourself?
SP: Passing this piece on to other dancers evoked so many deep physical memories. I recalled vividly the incredible experience of learning it from Gary Masters when I was a young dancer, and performing it all over the world. It was one of those pieces that goes deep into every fiber of one's being, where you always could feel the audience in a kind of mystical union with the dance. The piece is both brutal and noble, highly physical and deeply sacred. It gets inside of you and changes your DNA somehow. An audience member said to me, "I imagine the dancers both love and hate this piece." He was right. One approaches it knowing it will demand an awful lot of you, but once you are in it, it takes you somewhere and you never know quite where you will end up or how.
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