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Munich: van Manen / Balanchine / Robbins / Forsythe

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After a "bejwelled" weekend with the Kirov, Munich ballet scene has come "back to normal", with a mixed programme performed by Bavarian State Ballet - "topped" with a guest appearance of Paris Opera Ballet étoile Aurélie Dupont (replacing the injured Maria Eichwald).

The choice of ballets provided a very wide range of "modern" ballet - not like the new triple bills of Royal Ballet, for example, each of which is put under a general theme. What may sound strange at first - to me it worked as it gave an idea of the diversity of styles, and I found it quite amazing how well Munich dancers changed their style within one evening. They are not specialists in one style, so some may critic that they don't do anything perfectly - but it's the variety I appreciate, and I guess so do the dancers.

Some notes on the individual ballets:

Grosse Fuge (Hans van Manen)

Kusha Alexi, Sherelle Charge, Silvia Confalonieri, Beate Vollack

Amilcar Moret, Christian Ianole, Oliver Wehe, Norbert Graf

This is one of van Manens better known ballets, and one of the most significant, I would say. Personally, it is not my favourite (I am not too keen on baroque music, I must admit), but it goes really well with the music. The dancers went for it - but who made those strange hair decorations that looked to me really odd? The whole ballet is in black and white, and I have never seen colourful (yellow, red, brown and black) hair accessories before...

Who Cares (Balanchine)

Lisa-Maree Cullum, Laure Bridel-Picq, Michelle Nossiter

Alen Bottaini

I thought it quite courageous (or foolish?) to put on a Balanchine piece, only two days after the Kirov Ballet had performed "Jewels" - but maybe noone expected people to watch both?? I love this one, it's so entertaining - and Lisa-Maree Cullum is very quick, very much at home in his style. Alen Bottaini felt at ease, too - he looked as if everything was all easy and spontaneous, really boyish and having a great time flirting with his three ballerinas.

In the Night (Robbins)

Lisa-Maree Cullum - Roman Lazik

Kusha Alexi - Oliver Wehe

Aurélie Dupont- Kirill Melnikov

First time I saw this ballet - and although some people may call it old-fashioned, I loved it. It's so beautiful, set to beautiful Chopin music, no unnecessary extras, nice costumes - something to sit back and enjoy.

There was quite a long break between "Who cares" and this one - although it was not a proper interval, but Lisa-Maree Cullum had to change her hair and dress, so this was a bit unfortunate, I thought.

Aurélie Dupont replaced an injured dancer from Munich - I had only seen her in "Diana & Acteon" pdd in a gala before, plus on the "Sleeping Beauty" video, so I really don't know her. And she was really good! She and Kirill had a nice rapport - they looked as if they had danced a lot together! - and I enjoyed their acting very much! There were so many little details, such a variety, between passion, anger, despair - and after all, sort of "happy ending" - it was great entertainment.

The second detail (Forsythe)

What a change, after "In the night". Fortunately, there was an interval in between the two ballets, otherwise this would have been a bit tough to cope with.

I am no particular fan of Forsythe, but this is the ballet I personally like best of those I know. Some call it "clinic", too cold, all the light grey costumes etc - but I prefer it as it is one of the few Forsythe ballets where one can actually see the dancers' movements. Many other of his ballets are so poorly lit that I can only guess a bit of the choreography, but here it is all bright and visible.

As for the music - generally I am no fan of electronic noises (basically, this is how it sounds to me) - but for some reason this one gets me going every time I hear it. And it seems to have this effect to the dancers as well. They really go for it - and the audience loved it. There was huge applause - a nice reward to our local company.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to write this, Sonja. I'm sure I'm not the only one who's grateful for your reports from German and elsewhere.

By the end of next week, I'll have the rest of the DanceView archives up, and this will include several of Marc Haegeman's interviews -- one with Kirill Melnikov. I'll post an announcement on the Ballet Alert! Online forum when they're all loaded. I think it might interest you.

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Sonja, don't apologize about the length of your review: it's great to have detailed reviews of performances!

What you wrote about the transition between "In the Night" and "Second detail" reminds me of a POB performance I saw a few years ago at the Avignon festival: it took place outdoors in the Cour d'Honneur of the Palais des Papes (a very beautiful place), there was a performance of "In the Night"... and then blam!, "In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated"! I appreciated "In the Middle", but the change of atmosphere was a bit hard!

I think I'd use the word "clinic" too for "Second detail"- what disturbed me the most when I saw it (danced by the Lyon Opera Ballet) was, as in many Forsythe works, the total absence of emotion of the performers, they had blank faces and seemed to be performing almost only for themselves. I liked some of the movements (and I agree with you that at least, there is enough light in that one- I'm so bored with all those poorly lit works...) but would have preferred a little bit of warmth...

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