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J.G. Bart POB La Source 26/10/11

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I went to see this Ballet, after month's looking forward to the event. I c annot say I disliked it,

but came away slightly unsure of how I felt. I was feeling a little disapointed. Not with the dancers, it was the first night of the second cast. Myriam Ould Braham, (Naila) Josua Hoffalt

(Djeemil), Muriel Zusperreguy (Nouredda), Allessio Carbone (Zael), Christophe Duquenne (Mazdock Nouredda'a brother) Alexis Renaud (The Khan) They all performed well and took their parts as expected. MOB was charming as Naila, she was lyrical, musical and suited the role.

MZ danced the stronger role of Nouredda with conviction and contrasted well against the softer more delicate performance of Naila. The first scene seemed to take time in getting started, but things moved on more quickly with the appearance of the Caucausians. This

was where my doubts crept in, "Character Dance", which really did little to impress me. The overall choreography at this point was not very exciting, rather repetative and not danced with the flourish and style we can expect from the Bolshoi or Kirov. In fact it was quite painstaking

I honestly felt that the solo for Nouredda should have been danced in character shoes, and would have been more effective. Danced in the middle of the character steps, it did not seem to fit in.

The Corp de Ballet at times in the Nymphs variation, were out of line, on both sides, which is almost unheard of for the Paris Opera. It stood out quite a lot and distracted from the scene.

The scenery was non existant, staged in a black box, with side flats and rear , it consisted of a number of knotted ropes hanging down from the flys, with pieces of cloth knotted and

hanging above the stage. There was very little colour, or real scenery. At times the dancers climbed the ropes, or they were raised or lowered. I simply wondered what they were meant

to represent, maybe the mountain side? Across the front of the stage was a rope fringe.

Costumes were quite pretty with jewels and light tule skirts, the Caucasians had Armenian style long coats,and trousers worn with boots. The fabrics were very rich, trimmed with fur, in a variety of colours.

I am still un-decided just what to think of the Ballet, it did not "Rock my Boat" , but all the same from his first attempt at choreography in mounting La Source I could imagine the re-action and excitement it may have caused when originally produced.

After the performance I had the chance to speak to Jean G. Bart, who told me, he had the idea to produce this for a very long time, his idea for the choreography, costumes and music. I could not help thinking how good it would have been if he could have had the benefit of imput from one of the Professors from the Bolshoi or Marinksky to help with the Character Dance, as it would have made such a difference to the production.

Perhaps I am too critical in comparing Ballet Dancers doing Character Dance, with the specially trained Russian's. Maybe I should just watch it and try to appreciate their efforts.

But it is like having a top of the range Hi Fi with a wonderful tone, and music played by a top orchestra. Then buying and listening to a lower quality unit, that does not sound so good.

You will always appreciate the the better system, likewise with Dancers,.

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Yes, hydraulix, I went looking forward to something new and special, since then I have seen POB in Manon, with Josua Hoffalt and other members of the same cast, and I was totally won over by the latter. My mind is now definatly made up, the Character Dances and their performance are feeble and really need a different aproach. I hope they can get it sorted out before it comes back into the programme.

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Now March 2013, and the ballet has been broadcast live and also appeared on YouTube which has given me the chance to watch it a few times on a HD screen and dolby surround sound system using my New 23" screen Computer. I have now taken the time to compare what I have been able to watch with the live performance I saw in Paris.

Basically, I am able to confirm I like the Ballet, but realise that a different cast makes a lot of diference. In the film the role of Naila is danced by Ludmila Pagliero, and how I wish I had chosen to see her now when I had the chance. She is a beautiful dancer, her steps and movements are made with a equisite defination, everything is heartfelt and lyrical, her technique is charismatic and expressive. The lifts and and chemistry with Karl Paquette a dancer with very good stage presence are magical.

Mathias Heymann who plays Zael is an excellent virtuoso dancer, who undertakes the choreography performing the sdteps with great speed and accuracy. However, my initial opinion of the Caucasian 's choreography remains the same, it is too simple and borders on feeble. However I can see now what Jean Guillamins Bart was trying to portray. his ideas appear to be based on Georgian dances, in fact Christophe Duquenne role as Mozdok amply applies this. performing on the balls of the feet as we see the Georgian State Cossack Company do in their performances. The men come off better than the girls in this instance. Their dances seem to represent the beautiful Shushi dances from Armenia, but without the magic glideig steps and Port de bra that accompany them. As I said earlier thiese sections of the ballet could be much better. The costumes in general are very beautiful, but I still find the Caucausian ladies to be much too fussy. Also from more study of the detail I find that Djemal who is supposed to be a hunter costumes seem much too modern. In the first instance he wears a pair of straight trousers of Jersey type material, a top with long sleeves, with a draped front and round neck, over which is a long sleeved jacket longer at the back and buttoned front. The whole outfit is black and grey with self coloured patches.. For the second Act he wears a very similar outfit but with green trousers ,rustic coloured top and matching jacket.. Both costumes seem out of place to the beautiful bejewelled and stunning items worn by the rest of the essemble. At the end of the day I liked the production much more, now I have been able to analise it more fully. than on my first impressions.

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