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Dutch National Ballet at Jacob's Pillow, July 5-9


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Jacob's Pillow just posted their summer festival schedule. Of particular interest, the Dutch National Ballet will be making their Pillow debut, The program includes Variations for Two Couples (Hans Van Manen); Two & Only(Wubkje Kuindersma); The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude (William Forsythe); Grand Pas Classique(Victor Gsovsky); and Five Tangos (Hans van Manen, music by Astor Piazzolla). They also made a point of mentioning that Olga Smirnova will be performing.

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I saw the Saturday matinee of this program and really enjoyed it. This was my first time seeing the Dutch National Ballet and they are certainly a beautiful company with a very fluid quality In their dancing.

The program was:

Variations for Two Couples (Hans van Manen/several different composers). This work was for a short couple (Riho Sakamoto Young Gyu Choi) and a taller one (Jingling Mao and Jakob Feyferlik). I recall this as very lyrical and serene.

Two and Only (Wubkje Kuindersma/Michael Benjamin). This duet (Timothy van Pouke and James Stout) seemed to be about a past relationship between the two men. 

The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude (Forsyth/Schubert): This was the only work I'd seen before in person (SFB about 25 years ago). High energy and those distinctive pancake tutus. 

Solo (van Manen/Bach): Despite the title, this work was for 3 male dancers and was added to the program by request of the dancers as their gift to the audience. It was definitely a favorite, with plentiful opportunities for 3 men (Joseph Masserelli, Daniel Montero Real, and Daniel Silva) to show what they could do.

Grand Pas Classique (Gsovsky/Auber): Although I'd never seen this in person before, I had taped a PBS program with Sylvie Guillem and Manuel Legris performing this that I watched over and over again years ago, so this was very familiar to me. It seemed to me that there were a couple of places where the dancers (Elisabeth Tanev and Victor Caixeta) didn't use all of their music, but these were still beautiful performances with the dancers making everything look easy and fun.

5 Tangos (van Manen/Piazzola): This was a big crowd pleaser, although I was getting restless as this went on. Although the costumes and music suggested tango, the dancing didn't look very tango-y to me. I felt this was a bit long.

This program was long by Pillow standards but the audience was very appreciative, with sustained ovations after each dance and at the conclusion of the program. I'm very glad to have had the opportunity to see this fantastic company. If only the cooling system would have worked (struck by lightning twice last week), it would have been a perfect afternoon.

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