Posted 26 December 2011 - 11:42 AM
I had a chance this weekend to watch the PBS broadcast as well as the 1993 DVD, and it's interesting (for me at least!) to see this company occasionally as an outsider, in contrast to many here who have grown up with it because it's always striking to me how unique this company still is today. Their combination of speed, attack, and musicality is pretty much unmatched anywhere else, and gives their dancing a unique quality. I remember being struck by the same things when I saw the Moves company recently, too. Sure, there are things you can carp about (the high shoulders, and the sometimes ungainly arm lines), but as a whole, this company is really still one of the dance treasures of the world.
On to specifics ... I am surprised no one else mentioned Hot Chocolate's Adrian Danchig-Waring who gave a weighty, core-of-the-earth quality to his role. When I first saw the movie theater broadcast, I thought, "Wow, he has great turnout!" Well he does, but what was really under that driving it was how into the ground he was, and how all his movement was initiated from the hips. It's almost like a modern take on that role. I wonder what he looks like in contemporary pieces. Anyway, for that alone, he was really unique, and I'd love to see him in other things.
Speaking of going into the ground, it was great to see ballet dancers who do dance into the floor too. I think this was really obvious in the dolls dance in Act 1, where you can see Harlequin in soft shoes pushing into the floor. Gen Horiuchi's Tea on the DVD also shows this off to great effect.
I'm not sure what else can be said about Ashley Bouder's Dewdrop that hasn't been said already. She gave a pretty phenomenal performance that really showcases what the company's about. For me, Waltz of the Flowers is really the center of this ballet.
Another thing that's kind of unique to them is spotting front (it's really clear in Bouder's role, but it's everywhere), but is there some inconsistency in this? During the 2nd half of snow (before the big harp solo figure), a column of 4 girls chaine-turn from stage left, and every other one of them was spotting front. The others were spotting side. It was alternated, so I'm not sure if that was intentional or a mistake.
The tempi between the DVD and the performance struck me as similar, that is, very fast!