Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
California

Polish National Ballet

6 posts in this topic

While many of you were at the met for Misty's R&J matinee, I decided to try the matinee of the Polish National Ballet at the Joyce. They have one more performance Sunday afternoon and I would recommend it: http://www.joyce.org/performance/polish-national-ballet/#.VYXbWdHbLIV

The most expensive seat is $49 and they have tickets on the TDF site for half that. This matinee was almost sold out, although I have no way of knowing how many were there on TDF tickets.

At home, they have 90 dancers (!). I am always amazed at the talent in these little eastern European countries. I attribute that to the classical arts in the bloodstream in that part of the world - along with their heavy subsidies from the state government.

My favorite was the final piece, Moving Rooms, made for the Dutch National Ballet in 2008 by the Polish company director, Krzysztof Pastor. Very contemporary/post-modern music is by Alfred Schnittke. The 11 dancers showed us very avant-garde neo-classical ballet, with a tinge of Kylian in the movement and Glass in the music, at least in the final movement. It's a great finale and real crowd-pleaser.

I also liked the opening piece, Adagio & Scherzo, also by Pastor, premiered last year. The music (recorded, alas) was the 2nd and 3rd movements of Schubert's String Quintet in C major. That same Quintet was used as the only music in HBO's extraordinary film Conspiracy, which re-enacted the infamous Wannsee Conference that planned the Holocaust (filmed on location with a host of famous actors from Richard Branagh and Stanley Tucci to Colin Firth). It is inconceivable that this was a coincidence. Although Wannsee is outside Berlin, Poland was the location of many death camps, most notably Auschwitz-Birkenau outside Krakow.

The background images shifted among horizontal lines in bright red then to blue, back to red. (Nazi swastikas to Communism?) The program is very discrete: "I am not telling any story in this piece..." But if you have seen Conspiracy, you can't help but see the entire ballet through that lens. This is neo-classical ballet again, in pointe shoes for the women, 8 dancers in all.

http://www.amazon.com/Conspiracy-Kenneth-Branagh/dp/B00005YUO1

I had difficulty connecting with the middle piece, Rite of Spring, choreographed by Emanuel Gat in 2004. Five dancers, three women and two men, were in bare feet in a harsh red light. I think because the music and previous choreography are so familiar, it was harder to grasp what this one was trying to do.

Share this post


Link to post

I attended this evening's performance by the Polish National Ballet - overall it was amazing, what talented young dancers. The Rite of Spring was by far my favorite of the bunch. The Adagio & Scherzo was boring and I was dozing off a bit until I was jolted awake by Stravinsky's music and the energy of the five dancers. The final Moving Rooms was generally entertaining with tremendous energy and athleticism but the music was a bit too grating at times.

Share this post


Link to post

I thought the dancers were very, very good. I'm surprised by California's post -- that the music is so related to this film about the Holocaust. I don't see that at all in the choreography. Then again, I don't see that the Poles make very much of a connection at all to their relationship to the Holocaust.

Share this post


Link to post

I thought the dancers were very, very good. I'm surprised by California's post -- that the music is so related to this film about the Holocaust. I don't see that at all in the choreography. Then again, I don't see that the Poles make very much of a connection at all to their relationship to the Holocaust.

I spent a week in Krakow last year and visited Schindler's factory (now a high-tech and very chilling portrayal of life under Nazi occupation,the Holocaust, etc.) Also visited Auschwitz-Birkenau and other memorials. The tour guide reminded us that those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it, which I also saw there on plaques. University students today are keenly aware of their history, the Holocaust, and the betrayal by Nazis, Stalin, and then the western allies they helped during the war. And no way was the choice of music a coincidence. But people can see different things in an abstract ballet, perhaps the intent of that program note.

Share this post


Link to post

It would be a terrible affront if that ballet was intended to be on the theme of the Holocaust. My guess is he learned afterwards about the HBO movie, which is why he has the disclaimer in the program notes about the ballet not "telling any story." I am not going to go into the long and sorry history of the Polish relationship to anti-semitism and the Holocaust. If you are so inclined, there is ample source material to be read if not studied. Suffice it to say, I don't think an Auschwitz tour guide is necessarily representative. I'm sure there are quite a few people in Poland, particularly among the educated, as you point out, who are appalled by it all, and there is no doubt that the Poles suffered terribly during and after WWII. But there is another side to all of it. I think it best we do not continue this line of discussion in this place.

Share this post


Link to post

While many of you were at the met for Misty's R&J matinee, I decided to try the matinee of the Polish National Ballet at the Joyce. They have one more performance Sunday afternoon and I would recommend it: http://www.joyce.org/performance/polish-national-ballet/#.VYXbWdHbLIV

The most expensive seat is $49 and they have tickets on the TDF site for half that. This matinee was almost sold out, although I have no way of knowing how many were there on TDF tickets.

.

.

.

.

I had difficulty connecting with the middle piece, Rite of Spring, choreographed by Emanuel Gat in 2004. Five dancers, three women and two men, were in bare feet in a harsh red light. I think because the music and previous choreography are so familiar, it was harder to grasp what this one was trying to do.

I pretty much agree (having attended the June 23 performance at the Kennedy Center). Though since I haven't seen Conspiracy, I didn't make the connection that California did. The one thing that I didn't like about Adagio and Scherzo was that at times there were 2 or 4 pairs on stage not doing the same thing but spaced too far apart to watch all of them, and it was distracting to be wondering what else was going on while being focused on one pair.

I was very excited when I saw that Rite of Spring was on the program, so it was disappointing that the piece was an abstract dance set to Stravinsky's music rather than a, well, rite of spring theme. I thought that it was clever when he had the 3 women all dancing as if they had partners while the 2 men rotated between the 3 women, but that idea ended up being, IMHO, over-used. I just didn't think that there were enough ideas in the choreography to last the 30+ minutes that the music lasts. But maybe it was just my disappointment at not getting what I was expecting.

It would be interesting to see the program again, but tonight's performance was cancelled due to "unforeseen circumstances", which most likely was that they didn't foresee that they would only be able to sell around 700 tickets total for 2 scheduled performances.

Share this post


Link to post
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.