Jump to content
This Site Uses Cookies. If You Want to Disable Cookies, Please See Your Browser Documentation. ×

Ballet Preljocaj

Recommended Posts

I'm sure some of my NY friends will be shocked, but I thoroughly enjoyed Ballet Preljocaj. Did anyone else go, or have you seen the company on its current tour?

I reviewed it in the Post (please remember that critics do not write our own headlines!) and want to write about it more, as I had very little space, but here's a link for now:

Preljocaj's 'Helikopter': A Ballet That Takes Off

Anjelin Preljocaj has a well-deserved reputation for being bold and provocative. The two works his Ballet Preljocaj brought to the Kennedy Center's Eisenhower Theater Friday night teased the brain as well as the senses, and his dancers are as gorgeous and invincible as any around.
Link to comment

Did anyone see this program at the Brooklyn Academy of Music? Please, post! I found Alexandra's review (link above) to be marvelously insightful about the Rite. I found I preferred Helikopter, which is more of a "pure dance" piece, and reveals Prejlocaj's Cunningham background--he studied at the studio--including multiple fronts, focal points, and so forth. The choreography does make a lot of use of the floor (not Cunningham), which looks very American modern dance. The dancers, though, have a very French affect. Very interesting indeed.

Link to comment

Some other reviews of Preljocaj, as the company winds its way around the country.

From today's Boston Herald:

Hub needs a jolt of Preljocaj's electric vision

While the work of the company's artistic director, Angelin Preljocaj, remains unknown in Boston, it has become enormously popular in New York. Dance fans crowded into the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Harvey Theater last week to see two U.S. premieres by Preljocaj (his new ``Rite of Spring'' and his ``Helikopter,'' which is set to a clamorous score by Stockhausen), and I was thrilled to count myself among them.

Preljocaj's style is singular. His dancers are well-trained in both classical ballet and release technique, in which kinetic energy is sort of flung out of the body. Their movements are emphatic, even violent at times, provoking a kind of cathartic exhaustion for both dancers and audience.

Link to comment

Kisselgoff in the Times:

Sexuality From France, Arriving by Helicopter

Mr. Preljocaj's version of Stravinsky's ''Rite of Spring'' was the main draw, and it was choreographed last year for the Berlin Staatsoper at Daniel Barenboim's invitation.

Typically, Mr. Preljocaj is drawn here to another exploration of instinct. But his image of a collective sexual urge among couples, although vaguely related to the fertility ritual of Stravinsky's scenario, lacks something of an illuminating dimension.

But the dancers in his company, a modern-dance troupe, deliver a formidable performance, and the final solo in the nude for Isabelle Arnaud, dancing on a square of Astroturf as the Chosen One, is a distillation of energy and more sensual than sensational.

Link to comment

A preview in the L.A. Pilot, including an interview with Preljocaj:


And Lewis Segal's review.

Preljocaj's opposing forces

Challenging himself by taking on two of the most formidable scores of the 20th century, French choreographer Angelin Preljocaj created a program of daring opposites at the Irvine Barclay Theatre on Friday.

To Karlheinz Stockhausen's "Helikopter," a startling end-of-century string quartet played (and recorded) inside four helicopters in flight, Preljocaj brought cool, postmodern abstraction coupled with visionary projection technology.

To Igor Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring," a century-defining essay in volcanic neo-primitivism, he reexplored the dark view of sexuality evident in a number of his previous dance dramas.

Few companies could look equally comfortable at these extremes, but the members of Preljocaj's 12-dancer ensemble made the sustained energy output of the task-oriented "Helikopter" as exciting as the visceral and often violent mating rituals depicted in "The Rite of Spring."

Link to comment

I really liked both pieces. I enjoyed all noise and high energy in "Helikopter". (Visually I really liked part that looked like dancing in the puddle of water and 'sculpturality' of groupes of dancers.)

I liked "The Rite of Spring" very much, even though it was at moments disturbing to watch. I think it's clever in approach and well rounded as an artistic idea.

Overall, I was amazed at high energy of both works and how strong his dancers are (half of them dance in both works), the ease they dance with and how light they look (despite this being modern dance- gravitating towards floor quality if you understand what I mean by that). I think it's nice that dancers are very different body types too.

Also, I loved clever set design in The Rite.. - for me a perfect scenography: one that is simple, very interesting visually. Not big and self-important, but instead in perfect service of the idea.

Here is one review from Toronto

it's by Susan Walker, dance critic of Toronto Star :


(hope this link works)

Link to comment

Thanks for posting -- and a VERY belated thanks to Nanatchka.

I thought the dancers were absolutely stunning. I liked the way they looked like very fit artists rather than athletes, and had "normal" bodies -- meaning not too muscled, not to skinny, but definitely dancers!

I was very disappointed that at the Kennedy Center, you couldn't see the light patterns from the orchestra -- not from where I sat, anyway, and others who saw it from both above and below said the difference was stark. I could see only flickering lights, not any patterns.

I had several friends who'd stopped going to see Preljocaj because they hadn't been impressed with his Romeo and Juliet remake, or his more tanztheater-like pieces, but liked this program very much. The audience here did not -- you could feel a chill, at least opening night, and the comments I heard at intermission were mostly negative.

Thanks for posting the link, too :)

Link to comment

Thanks Alexandra.

In Toronto the program is shown in smaller specifically dance theatre (Premiere Dance Theatre in Harbourfront Centre- for those who know this city), therefore in the audience are mostly people who follow this art's scene. Judging from applause and some loud 'bravos', looked like the reactions here were more positive than your experience is Alexandra. But, I have to say that I was surprised that even for the opening night this smaller theatre wasn't sold out (considering Preljocaj is relatively well known choreographer, or one would at least think so). So definitely I'm describing reactions of a smaller group of dancegoers (of whom probably very few didn't know sort of what to expect)- therefore it's probably not comparable to Kennedy Centre audiences.

Link to comment

This program was on the modern dance subscription, so I was surprised at the reaction. Some of us who liked it discussed the tepid reaction, and thought, for Helikopter, it was the music -- although the volume here was quite civil, not aggressively loud, as in some avant-garde programs. The main comments I heard were that Helikopter was "just steps" (with which I do not agree) and that "Sacre" was: too vicious, too anti-female, too pornographic. I don't agree there, either.

I especially liked the hillock in Sacre. I read once Stravinsky describing the music, and he said that spring in Russia is not gentle, but the earth is ripped apart violently -- and Preljocaj echoed that when he tore the hillock apart. I thought it was a very thoughtful approach, and I'd expected a "let's use a famous name and famous score and coast on it" version.

Link to comment

It's interesting to read about the reactions about that "Sacre": if I remember correctly, most of the reviews about it I've read in French magazines were negative (but I don't remember exactly why). I haven't seen that program, as so far the few Preljocaj works that I've seen mostly made me feel bored, but perhaps if I have an opportunity to see that one I might give it a try...

Link to comment
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...