Jump to content

Lang Lang Dance Project: Sounds of the Soul - Nov. 4

Recommended Posts

The Lang Lang Dance project, featuring music by Chopin, choreographed by Stanton Welch and performed by Houston Ballet, will be streamed live from Paris on Monday, November 4 on Medici TV. It appears that the broadcast may not available for later viewing on demand. I'm also not 100% sure about the start time because of the North American time change kicking in the day before.




Share this post

Link to post

Many thanks for the heads up -- I skimmed by it on the medici tv listing without knowing what it was blushing.gif and had forgotten about it.

Share this post

Link to post

I didn't correct my initial "appointment" in my calendar for the 11am PST start time, but I did see the last 60% of this using Tunnel Bear. Unfortunately, the director decided to intermittently focus on Lang Lang, in his red blazer, watching the dancers, and to flip from the medium shot, in which the details of the dancing was clear and their entire bodies were shown, to long shots, which added little, and close-ups that cut off their legs and the momentum. The lighting downstage left was murky, and the dancers were sometimes moving in the shadows.

The piano was downstage right. The dancers were clad in below-the-hip pants with wide elastics, the men's pink in tone, the women's more peachy, and the women wore thin-strapped "bandage" bra tops.

A lot of the choreography was musically responsive, and the dancers looked great in it, when the director would let them. Most of what I saw were solos, pas, and a very nice pas de trois for Meloday Mennite and two men, although there were a few sections when other couples zipped through -- one way of dealing with the Chopin's major mood swings in the "B" sections of his A/B/A works, so not much of an ensemble. (There might have been more for ensemble in the part I missed.) Mennite is a beautiful dancer who led other sections as well. From looking at the Houston Ballet website, I think it was Charles-Louis Yoshiyama with whom I was most impressed among the men, who were all wonderfully strong, in a solo and then pas with Nozomi Iijima. His technique was so clean without being at all academic.

It's now intermission, during which we've been treated to the piano being tuned and footage of some dancers on stage marking and Lang Lang setting up for part two.

Share this post

Link to post

Part Deux.

Even perusing the photos on the website, I can't tell the difference between most of the women. I think I've ID'd the men correctly, but if anyone else knows who's who, please reply with corrections.

Part two opened with a solo for Joseph Walsh, whose arms are to die for. Next was a pas de deux for Conor Walsh and one of the women I'm not sure of: Precourt? Collado? Strongin? I think it was James Gotetski with one of the three in the next section. Whoever it was looked small compared to Gotetski. I think the other two are taller. The music to the first few pieces was quite lyrical and gentle until the dramatic "B" section of the last piece.

Next was a series of pas de trois with Conor Walsh and Joseph Walsh partnering three women in a series. The first was Karina Gonzalez, who barely touched the ground. The transitions in her air positions and the pass-offs between the men were seamless. The middle woman was Nojomi Iijima in a similar vein. The third was the dark-haired tall dancer of Precourt/Collado/Strongin, and her part was more independent: she spent less time being in the air or being supported. Then each woman was partnered by one of the men with a third man joining them, and finally, the piece ended with all of the dancers running onstage, making a diagonal formation towards the piano -- like the end of "Walpurgisnacht Ballet" -- and kneeling on one knee, I'm assuming a reverence of sorts.

There were shades of "Emeralds" and "Serenade," in the final movement. Like in "Serenade," most of the dancers exit stepping slowing backwards as a couple begins to dance, and like in "Emeralds," the "big" ending to big music isn't the final ending. The final pas de deux, danced by Gonzalez and Ian Casady, was to the serene C minor Nocturne. Towards the end, like several other times in the ballet, the dancers stood by the piano and listened. Then Casady lifted Gonzalez overhead and slowly walked backwards, turning her in the air slowly, as the curtain fell.

After one set of bows, during which Stanton Welch was brought out from the wings for his bow, Lang Lang played the "Minute Waltz" as the dancers and Welch listened, and then there were the final bows, with Lang Lang applauding the dancers, and a final, behind-the-curtain ovation to end it.

This was kind of like dancing "Dances at a Gathering" twice in a row. The Robbins Foundation seems stingy about letting companies do "Dances." I think other companies should snap this one up: it's got wonderful music, and the dancers look great in it. If they were to, they could have a hit on their hands.

Share this post

Link to post

This performance is being released on DVD by Sony Classical under the title The Chopin Dance Project. It hits the North American market on May 26. The list price is quite low, which perhaps compensates for the excessively frequent shots of Lang Lang's red blazer. smile.png Congratulations to Houston Ballet.

Share this post

Link to post
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.