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Millepied company in Lyon

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NYCB fans might be interested in learning that Benjamin Millepied's company will be performing in Lyon next week, as part of the Biennale de la Danse (actually it will be one of the very few ballet works of the Biennale, as nearly all companies who will perform are modern dance companies).

From what I've read in the free newspaper "20 minutes", Mr Millepied broke one of his feet and so the program had to be modified (with "Tarantella" and "After the Rain" instead of "Other dances", if I remember correctly).

I've booked tickets for tomorrow's performance. :)

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Indeed, Benjamin Millepied didn't perform yesterday (I hope that his injury won't keep him far from the stage for too long, that must be terribly frustrating). I'd have loved to see "Other dances" again, but the replacement pieces really were worth seeing too.

The program included a pas de deux from "After the Rain", and then "Tarantella", "Closer" and "Fancy Free". Actually I regret not being able to attend it a second time, as it was very enjoyable and I'd really like to see those works a second time to have a more precise appreciation.

I found "After the rain" (performed by Sébastien Marcovici, and Céline Cassone from the Grand Ballet du Théâtre de Genève) very interesting and with a fascinating range of vocabulary and impressive partnering, but perhaps not really the best program opener for me, as it took me some time to get into the right mood (also I'd really like to know more about the rest of the work as it is only an excerpt). Also a funny coincidence is that some of its score (Spiegel im Spiegel) is the same as that of the end of Mats Ek's "Solo for two", and one couldn't imagine two more different works...

"Tarantella" was the only work of that program that I had already seen, but it was years ago (by a group of POB dancers- if I remember correctly, the male role was danced by Hervé Courtain) and in the huge arena of Nîmes so the dancers looked a bit small on such a large stage. Here I could enjoy that work more fully- a small piece of candy, fast and joyful ! I know very little about this ballet's history- the costumes made me think of Bournonville, but is it only because there also is a Tarantella in "Napoli", or was it also a conscious homage of Balanchine to Bournonville ? Both dancers performed it with great virtuosity and a lot of enthusiasm.

"Closer" had the great advantage to be performed with live music, as there was a pianist (Pedja Muzljevic) on stage to play the Philip Glass score (as for the final score for "After the rain", I somewhat had a sensation of "déjà vu", or actually "déjà entendu", but it probably is because that the score sounds a bit similar to other Glass pieces, as in those in the "Glass pieces" ballet by Robbins). The performers were again Sébastien Marcovici and Céline Cassone, in simple costumes which looked perhaps a bit too much like pajamas (blue-grey trousers and white tee-shirt for him, very short sleeveless white dress for her). It was a very pleasant work with a somewhat meditative mood and a very fluid style of movement, I especially enjoyed a nice male solo at the beginning and a very soft, tender part at the end with both dancers sitting on the floor. Roderick Murray's lightings (mostly in white, pale blue, pale yellow shades, a bit as if it were natural sunlight changing during different moments of the day- by the way, how refreshing after seeing so many modern works with very dark lightings) were a definite asset for that work.

I had been looking forward to seeing "Fancy Free" for years and was not disappointed (even though some parts of the plot looked a bit dated to me, especially the "stolen handbag" part which would easily evoke some not really pleasant behaviour now...) Unfortunately, the program sheets listed eight dancers (but it seems to me that there are only 7 dancers in that ballet, including the barman) but didn't say who was whom- with the help of the NYCB site, I think I identified the three

sailors as being Amar Ramasar (the one with the Rhumba), Tyler Angle (the one who does the machinegun gesture) and Daniel Ulbricht, and the girls being Georgina Pazcoguin (the one with the handbag), Rachel Rutherford (the second one) and I think Celine Cassone- Tiler Peck was listed too, and Henry Seth (perhaps he was the barman ?) All the dancers seemed to enjoy themselves tremendously and the whole work was a delight to see; all three sailors were wonderful but I was especially impressed by Tyler Angle, there was some kind of sweetness, youthfulness and charm in his dancing which really was endearing and moving (and at the same time a great line)- he really is a dancer that I wish I could see in some other works...

The Maison de la Danse was full for the first evening of that series of 6 performances, and all works were welcomed with much enthusiasm. (By the way, I noticed quite a lot of people in the audience who sounded American). It is the second time the Millepied company comes to Lyon and I can only wish that they will come back again in the next seasons.

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