La Fille mal Gardee
Posted 24 November 2002 - 07:29 PM
"Fille" indeed did lift my spirits as Grant had promised! I had reservations about a ballet with dancing chickens, but it was a sheer delight from start to finish (jumping hens included!). The naive setting, fairy-tale story, and bright country dancing were exactly what Torontonians needed on such a dreary winter evening. Ashton truly understood how to please an audience. He also built on all the subtle nuances of music and narrative. Though I am not usually a fan of mime, that which appears in "Fille" is so perfectly timed and comical that it does not feel boring or old as it can when overdone. The story unfold smoothly and clearly, making it a great hit with the younger audience members as well. (The theatre this weekend was much fuller than with last week's mixed program). I was sorry when Lise and Colas danced their wedding pdd, knowing that the ballet was soon coming to an end.
The dancing on both friday and saturday's performances was superb. One cannot imagine a better Lise than Martine Lamy who also danced the role over 10 years ago. Hers is delightfully mischevious, just a bit of a coquette. Lamy has proven herself as a great comic actress with a lot of wit. Every detail is thought out and perfectly in character, even when Lise is not the centre of attention. Technically, she posesses wonderful ballon, delicate pointework, and steely balances (especially the slow promenade in attitude derriere, supported only by the ribbons of the maypole). Sonia Rodriguez is charmingly sweet as Lise. Her adagio movements are especially confident, and arabesque penchees seem second nature to her. Her dancing is light and joyous, accented by dainty hops en pointe.
The role of Colas was danced by Piotyr Stanczyk and Keiichi Hirano, both just promoted to 2nd soloist in the last year. Both were graceful partners, and seized the opportunity to shine in this leading role. Piotyr danced on opening night, and was extremely well-recieved by the newspapers. His jubilant dancing was the surprise of the evening. Stanczyk has gained more confidence and conistency and it is a joy to watch him grow as a performer. Though he is not equal with Lamy in acting, he received a loud burst of applause for his turning sequence of pirouettes a la second and in attitude. His jumps, line, and extension have improved greatly, and the same can also be said of Hirano. Hirano brings to the role, personality and technical ease. His Colas is immediately likeable. His dancing had spectacular moments (entrelaisses, and quick double tours) but some less certain ones. He is still a bit of an on/off dancer, but it was a good debut and I'm glad Kudelka noticed his potential when casting him.
Philip Lau was hillarious as Alain, petrified and maladroit. His facial expressions and movements were deliciously over the top. Daisuke Ohno was also a great comedian in the role.
The corps looked great. The looked like they were having so much fun, I almost wished I was up there dancing with them!
Finally, one can't forget the Widow Simone. Tomas Schramek is an asset to the company, one of the most talented character artists I've ever seen. The clog dance was hoot!
"Fille" closed today, so I hope that some other posters had the chance to see it. Judging for these performances, as well as last season's "Monotones I and II", Ashton's spirit is still very much alive at the NBoC.
Posted 24 November 2002 - 07:36 PM
Posted 29 November 2002 - 04:26 PM
Posted 30 November 2002 - 10:12 AM
Posted 30 November 2002 - 08:59 PM
The whole ensemble was magnificent and looked like having lot of fun dancing ballet. Alexander Grant did magnificent work staging it and inspiring cast.
I have to highlight Matijash Mrozewsky as my favourite dancer of the evening (in role of Widow Simone). He was not only hilarious (without making a caricature of the character) but also so charming at moments, that you had to love the obnoxious mother (sort of like you'd feel about Estelle Harris's character in Seinfeld). (Incidentally, Mrozewsky was also a wonderful Bottom in Ashton's Dream two years ago. And this is definitely his month in Toronto- besides his work for National, he has a very interesting modern piece for Toronto Dance Theatre, if you can- go and see it.)
Posted 01 December 2002 - 06:27 AM
I wonder if this was a last minute casting replacement for Jeremy Ransom (who was supposed to dance the role) or if he was always cast in the role? It must have been a bit nerve wracking to be rehearsing his new piece with TDT by day and dancing (and rehearsing) the Widow at the same time.
Posted 01 December 2002 - 05:11 PM
Matijash was announced on the casting list when it first came out. I'm not sure when was that decided though. I know that prior to that casting information it has already been announced that Jeremy Rensom is taking leave from NBoC. I'm sure he would have been great (or that he was great if he danced the role when it was on National's repertory before, I'm not sure of that).
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