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I'd never heard of this, and discovered it by accident in the library catalog, trying to find the May Britt movie. Never heard anybody mention it here, but they probably have.

It's never really beautiful in a rapturous choreographic sense, but it gains power as it goes along. For a long time, Lola Lola has been given endless whorish mannerist movements, which are effective in a gamey way--you can almost smell the place, which is much more 'rue St. Denis' than the club in the Dietrich/Jannings movie. Dominique Khalfouni seems a fine dancer, even with all this extremely involved 'primping', which is what most of the early scenes come across as being. Petit is Professor Unrat, and becomes more and more moving as the piece progresses. The wedding scene is more imaginative and I began to really take it seriously there, which I think is about halfway through. The tragic ending is the one part of the piece in which the piece manages to come up to the power of the old film, as some of Lola's movements of disdain and dismissiveness go even beyond what Dietrich did.

I think this is a very worthwhile piece, even though when I started watching it, it seemed a period sort of thing. But I think it is a good example of a story ballet, and much better than what I've seen of Petit's Proust (I can't stand the Morel/St. Loup duet), although I do like the 'Carmen' with Zizi Jeanmaire, Baryshnikov and Denys Ganio. Only thing I saw in person was 'Notre Dame de Paris', which I thought nothing special. I definitely think it's better than many story ballets of the last 50 years I've seen, much better than MacMillan's Mayerling, and Marius Constant's music is not bad at all, with Brechtian/Weillish singing at the club early on by those low-voiced chanteuses in Threepenny Opera/Mahagonny dress-looks.

This says 1988, which means at least for the videorecording (it's an old vhs that somehow NYPL still has around.) So does someone know about this work, does it go back still further? Has anybody seen it live? This was National Ballet of Marseilles, but was this in POB repertory?

I liked it. Ms. Khalfouni is beautiful, but can also seem really grainy, and if Ms. Kaufman wants to talk about 'crotches cranked open', this is the place (and it's even meant to be that explicitly, which I doubt those Balanchine-inspired works were, i.e., the Professor definitely surveys the territory Lola is giving him a tour of); some of those early scenes to show off Lola are more effective in hindsight than when you're watching--you can't be believe he pampers the character to this degree, but maybe it works, she really does always seem to be posing and primping. And Mr. Petit is very fine and deeply touching when he dances longer toward the end, although as a dancer, he is not ever going to look scruffy in the same way Jannings could; the clown makeup makes you think of Marcel Marceau a bit. And the nightclubbers' uncaring attitude is very effectively evoked by Petit's choreography for them.

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