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Tuesday, September 27


dirac

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Akram Khan talks to Judith Mackrell about his new "Giselle" for English National Ballet.

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Given this harsh new setting, it’s inevitable that the ballet’s heroine has also undergone profound changes. Khan says he found it hard to connect with the passive, childlike Giselle of the original, comparing her to the delicately feminised women in Kathak, who are “nearly always so shy and in awe. I hate that. [The Hindu goddess] Radha today would be chewing gum and holding out her hand for Krishna to write his telephone number on. With Giselle I wanted to create a real woman who has lived life and experienced a lot.”

 

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Australian Ballet announces its 2017 season.

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The big news for contemporary dance and and ballet fans is that Christopher Wheeldon’s acclaimed Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is making its Australian premiere. Made in 2011 for the Royal Ballet, where Wheeldon is an artistic associate, the ballet features a contemporary score by Wheeldon’s regular collaborator Joby Talbot. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland opens in Melbourne in September and moves to Sydney’s Capitol Theatre in December 2017. As you can see from the Royal Ballet's trailer, the show gives Sleeping Beauty a run for its money in terms of spectacle.

 

Related.

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The Capitol will also play host to David McAlister’s lavish, Gabriela Tylesova-designed, sold out 2015 production of The Sleeping Beauty. The production plays Brisbane’s QPAC and the Melbourne Arts Centre earlier in the year. It’s the only main stage production to play outside of Melbourne or Sydney for 2017.

 

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With regard to Khan, it's too bad he didn't know the original Giselle was neither passive nor childlike. Those are characteristics of most 20th- and 21st-century Giselles. Likewise, the details of the original reveal a plot full of very human characters.

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A piece on "Jewels" by Alastair Macaulay in The New York Times.

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A separate thread — a central motif — is a particular forward-to-backward movement of the arms and entire upper body (“grand port de bras” in ballet terminology). In “Jewels,” it has the quality of both ritual and vital process, as if a strange impulse made the dancers first bend the torso, head and arms forward to make a concave shape (the hands meet like a beak or prow), and then — the same impulse — transform themselves by straightening and arching the back, arms now swept back and out, like wings. As the whole thorax moves from a closed position to a boldly exposed one, each dancer seems both ceremonious and driven. In each ballet, however, this movement acquires a different character.

 

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A review of New York City Ballet's gala by Leigh Witchel for danceviewtimes.

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Watching Ochoa's work get homogenized reminded you just how overpowering NYCB's brand is. Ochoa's best work may be as segmented as “Unframed,” but it's highly theatrical, not abstracted. She even assented to the aesthetic by making a near-Balanchine finale: everyone returned and massed in unison on the stage – was this BDSM “Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2?” Then she dismissed the corps and returned to the group of soloists who opened the work.

Yet the dancers looked freest, most happily riding the wave of the music and the movement, when she made a courtly octet that bounced on the baroque rhythms. Not only does music have a pulse and beat, but so does choreography. Without it, an abstract ballet goes into cardiac arrest.

 

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