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POB dancers to appear at Park Ave. Armory in Wayne McGregor multi-media evening-length piece. Co-commissioned by PAA, POB, Sadler's Wells, Manchester International Festival, and FAENA Art. The piece will probably be part of POB 2015-16 or 16/17 season. Single tickets go on sale on 5/11:


Not a big McGregor fan but will go just to see POB dancers.

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He made a number of comments to the effect that the POB had, perhaps, gone too far in the direction of (non-ballet) contemporary dance and that the POB had lost focus as a ballet company. Madame Lefevre took exception to that in print which was why it was so funny to see the two of them being so convivial with each other at her farewell.

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He made a number of comments to the effect that the POB had, perhaps, gone too far in the direction of (non-ballet) contemporary dance and that the POB had lost focus as a ballet company. Madame Lefevre took exception to that in print which was why it was so funny to see the two of them being so convivial with each other at her farewell.

Politics are unlovely, to be sure. I'm sure Mr. M. will again put his foot in his mouth - just give him time.

Aurelie Dupont, Marie-Agnes Gillot, Jeremy Belingard, Eve Grinztajn, Sebastien Bertaud, and Julien Meyzindi will be dancing the new piece: http://www.dansesaveclaplume.com/en-coulisse/collaboration-entre-le-ballet-de-lopera-de-paris-et-la-compagnie-wayne-mc-gregor-random-dance/

That answers my second question. I would think this is worth going to if you are in the area.

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I'm really starting to dread the announcement next month of the POB's 2015-16 season . . .

Me too, and not just because of the standardised neoclassical rep but the standardised contemporary dance and music. Jerome Bel and Nico Muhly (how ambitious!) confirmed, according to an interview with Millepied. Slightly interested in the ballet set to Daft Punk, but not very. Stephane Lissner's programming isn't any better though - a diverse range of operas but too many predictable directors. It's all about easy patronage, I guess.

Either way, I will try to see this when it's in Manchester. I think the last time the POB was in the UK was Le Parc with Laurent Hilaire and Aurelie Dupont. 2005?

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This collaboration of McGregor and POB dancers, titled Tree of Codes, was recently reviewed in the NY Times.

Sounds interesting. It's coming to the Park Ave Armory in September.

Thanks for the link. I was interested in this comment:

"But “Tree of Codes” is all wow and no substance. One amazing lighting effect or scenery change succeeds another; dancers pour on and off the stage in a never-ending procession of limb-lashing, body-rippling, how-do-they-do-that awesomeness; the music sends forth insistent rhythms and wordless vocals."

I may be conflating opinions but I seem to remember some similar comments about Forsythe's work (especially In the Middle for the POB) back in the day. I'm very curious to hear more about the work when it gets to NYC this autumn.

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I saw the first night of Tree of Codes and immediately booked for last night when I got home!

Critical opinion seems divided - non-dance critics loved it but the dance critics, while not condemnatory, were saying same old same old.

I've seen Wayne McGregor's own company several times and also Infra and Chroma at RB. I have enjoyed what I have seen but am no expert on his work.

Having seen and loved Tree of Codes twice (despite some apparent issues with the set last night (the mirror effects did not work properly for part of the time)) I have come to the conclusion that it is best not to see it as a dance piece but as an overall experience! That said, the dancers, without exception, are utterly magnificent.

I loved the whole experience. The performance started about 20 minutes late last night and people were standing around and chattering. A lot of people did not realise at first that the performance had started because the score starts with what seems to be people clapping. The house lights dim but the audience is still lit so it can be a bit confusing. The stage is completely blacked out at the start and the dancers cannot be seen (or at least I could not see them at all) only the lights on their costumes moving around perhaps like a constellation. The next, very short, section starts with what seems to be lampshades on their sides and the only visibly bit of the dancers is their hands. Then the dancing begins... For me there were a couple of outstanding duets and a trio that I particularly liked as well as the ensemble work. The back of the set is a large, faceted mirror and it is fascinating to see the dancers reflected in it (as well as, at times, the audience - on a number of occasions spotlights come out into the audience). When a glass screen is lowered some of the dancers are behind it and they are reflected mutliple times while the dancers in front of it are only reflected once! Finally another glass screen is lowered, which all the dancers are behind. Two cut out circles start revolving and the lighting effects come out into the audience like the effect of a giant glitterball.

For me, it was the overall effect that worked. If any of the three elements of the collaboration were not there, it would not work!

Here's links for some of the early reviews:

Neil Sowerby, Manchester Confidential

Charlotte Gush, i-D

Luke Jennings, Guardian

Mark Monahan, Telegraph

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I sat on the front row of the stalls for both performances at the Manchester Opera House and did not have an issue. On the first night I was over at the side and it was not a problem. I was in the centre of the row last night.

I expect the lighting effects were more spectacular from further back and higher up but the effects were spectacular from the front row too.

I suppose it depends on the theatre - for example, if I am able to go again when the show gets to Sadler's Wells I expect all the rows will be in place as there is no orchestra so no requirement for a pit. I have sat on the very front row there and it is too low. Sorry not to be more helpful.

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I've been reading the reviews for Tree of Codes, currently being performed in New York. The performance space sounds very different to the very conventional Opera House in Manchester and probably gave the piece a different feel.

I'd love to hear what any board members thought.

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I saw it. I had mixed feelings about it. The most outstanding aspects are the production values, niot the choreography. The choreography was, in my opinion, typical McGregor - very athletic but without any heart or depth. While some of the production values were very interesting, they got old fast. It seemed high on high tech gimmicks in terms of the scenic designs/lighting. As an example, they used a projection design which multiplied the image of the dancers on stage multiple times into infinity. That was cool, except that I've seen that done on television commercials (see the latest Under Armour commercial, where the image of Misty Copeland is multiplied on the screen hundreds of times). That got old pretty fast. Also, the opening first few minutes had the dancers entirely clad in black (including having their faces covered), with LED lights on their costumes. I've seen that trick too elsewhere. Portions of the dance use curved mirrors. It was all very flashy on the surface, but without much substance.

The hall was a gigantic room. The huge rectangular stage was a platform. There were many, many rows of seats set up in front of the platform. The hall is very wide, so each row was extremely long.

One hour 10 minutes. No intermission.

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