Snow White (Angelin Preljocaj)
Posted 06 October 2010 - 07:47 PM
The opening, which portrays the death of Snow White's mother in childbirth, was beautifully done, and if the dance of her father with Snow White at three different ages was cliched, it was short, sweet, and would have been an appropriate set-up for the story if it weren't followed by one of the ghastly, repetitive group dances. The entrance of the Evil Step Mother with her two cats was wonderfully campy, and decked in Jean-Paul Gauthier dominitrix drag, Celine Galli could have been in any chichi "Vogue" fashion ad.
Galli's preenings in front of a large mirror were some of the more effective scenes. In a temperamental, but equally effective contrast, there was a charming scene where Snow White encounters polyamorous green rock people. A brilliant and beautifully executed idea was the entrance of the seven dwarfs as rock-climbers, repelling and climbing the steep cliff of a set. Their earthbound, Busby Berkeley-like dance with Snow White was nicely shot from above, showing the back and forth circular pattern. The scene in which Evil Stepmother first entices Snow White with the apple and then forces it on her was brutal and powerful. A lovely aerial sequence followed, in which Snow White's mother is flown in to her prone, sleeping daughter, and lifts her high, and then puts her back down on the ground.
While most of the dance segments were mind-numbingly dull, one was striking: when the Prince kisses Snow White, she doesn't wake immediately, and he, in his grief, dances and extended pas de deux with her seemingly dead body to the Adagietto from Mahler's 5th Symphony. I could only think of Lynn Seymour's description of how she wanted to appear ugly dead as Juliet. It was only after the pas de deux that Snow White awakens, slowly, with several starts, and their reconciliation was moving. Jean-Paul Gauthier must have hated the Prince, though: he gave him the ugliest two peachy/pinky costumes, the definition of twee. (Plus he had one of those thin mustaches that are required for creepy Matthew Bourne heroes.)
I was tickled that at the end, the dwarfs (and the nymphs) got the Amazon girls in a slow walking scene. Too bad the dancing had to start again, but we were saved by the capture of the Evil Stepmother, whose punishment was to wear a smoking hot (temperature) pair of a cross between clogs and Crocs and to thrash dance herself to death.
The filming was fantastic. Kudos to the camera people and editors.
Posted 07 October 2010 - 06:46 AM
A film version of Angelin Preljocaj's "Snow White" played tonight at the Vancouver International Film Festival. It isn't even a question of whether or not this a ballet: the majority of it isn't dance. It is more a work of theater, and while its high points were gestural and movement-based, its low points were his attempts at dance. The score is a pastiche of Mahler symphony excerpts.
Any word as to whether or not this will be released commercially?
Posted 15 October 2010 - 09:20 PM
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