The Manu-athon of Ballet: Program A

Here was the line-up… Program A played on July 13th & July 16th. I saw the July 13th performance & it was FANTASTIC!

White Shadows: Ch: Patrick de Bana, Music: Armand Amar, Dancers: Manuel Legris, Patrick de Bana, Mika Yoshioka, Mizuka Ueno, Mayumi Nishimura, Yuji Matsushita, Yu Himuro, Ryo Ogasawara, Yuki Miyamoto, Junya Okazaki, Aya Takagi, Haruka Nara, and Mamiko Kawashima

This piece is amazing – riveting, dramatic, moving… I could go on just using adjectives for days! It’s a piece that draws you in and keeps you on the edge of your seat. It’s great planning to have an intermission right after because you need a bit of a break, it’s that emotional. Whenever I see a de Bana piece, I just want to be able to dance one myself someday. He knows exactly how to toy with your brain and with your heart at the same time; he’s brilliant both as a dancer and a choreographer. I also love to see Manu dance de Bana pieces because on DVD I get to see him to very traditional ballet but de Bana work brings out another wonderful dimension of the brilliance of Manu’s style. Manu is gorgeous in contemporary work; his style is beautifully suited to edgy contemporary work. Seeing this work alone was worth the 12-hour flight!

Le Corsaire: Ch: Petipa, Music: Drigo, Dancers: Liudmila Konovalova & Denys Cherevychko

I have to admit that I was not familiar with either of these dancers but I do love this bit of fun ballet. They were both really wonderful and it was a perfectly enjoyable rendition.

Manon, pdd from Act 1: Ch: MacMillan, Music: Massnet, Dancers: Barbora Kohoutkova & Friedemann Vogel 

This is the pdd from the bedroom scene, which of course, I LOVE!!! I was not familiar with Barbora Kohoutkova but I have seen clips of Friedemann Vogel on YouTube. He’s very very young looking and dances very cleanly. He’s clearly much loved here in Japan and for good reason. Happy, happy, happy.

Arepo: Ch: Maurice Béjart, Music: Hugues Le Bars, Dancer: Mihail Sosnovschi

Another dancer that I was not familiar with, Mihail is an incredible dancer! This is not my favorite piece and with Béjart its always a iffy for me, I love some of his work and find other things just strange and difficult to enjoy. I gave Mihai extra points for wearing a one-shouldered bright red bodysuit. He was also very sweet at the stage door, when a fan asked for a photo, he helped the young man hold the camera and even waited to check that that photo came out and when it didn’t he happily took it again.

La Sylphide, from act 2: Ch: Lacotte, Music: Schneitzhoeffer, Dancers: Nina Polakova, Masayu Kimoto and members of the Tokyo Ballet

The Tokyo Ballet was really the star here. I get kind of particular about timing and musicality with the corps, it’s just very distracting when you’ve got a line of dancers and they aren’t in synch. The Tokyo Ballet dancers were perfection – PER-FEC-TION. It was a nice long segment and wonderfully performed. Gorgeous traditional delicate ballets, what more could you want… oh, more ballet more…

Black Swan, pas de trios: Ch: Nureyev, Music: Tchaikovsky, Dancers: Liudmila Konovalova, Dmitry Gudanov, Mihail Sosnovschi

I used to like this bit a lot more, perhaps that movie sort of soured it somewhat for me, not sure. It was well done; although not to be a difficult critic but the Black Swan is supposed to be the naughty one and Liudmila could have been a bit more of a bad swan girl. Mihail was a very good V. Rothbart and Dmitry a noble yet clueless prince Sieg.

Fancy Goods: Ch. Marco Geocke, Music: Sarah Vaughan, Dancer: Friedmann Vogel

I really like Sarah Vaughan music so I was hopeful for something jazz bluesy and quirky. It was quirky for sure. Some of it was yummy and some of it seemed a bit, um, how do I put this… contrived. The choreography tried a bit too hard at moments, like a section where dancers in black carrying hot pink feather fans come out and do this little hopping bit so that all you see are the feather fans behind Friedmann, it wasn’t bad per se but… maybe its because this was the piece that was standing between me and more Manuel Legris…

Onegin, pdd from act 3: Ch: Cranko, Music: Tchaikovsky, Dancers: Maria Eichwald & Manuel Legris 

It’s been my dream to see Manuel Legris perform Onegin and Manon. So even though I didn’t get to see the whole thing, this was still a dream come true! And it was everything that I hoped it would be… Manu is so perfect; his Onegin is so repentant, desperate, and sorrowful. He and Maria were so lovely; the lifts were luscious and airy. I’ve never seen a ballerina put down with such delicacy. I was mesmerized and wished that it would never end.

When the applause finally died down, Carboy looked at me and said, “Sort of makes you want to cry.” Yes, it did and very little makes me want to cry. The evening began with a riveting emotional rollercoaster and ended with heartbreak, it was very French and I mean that in the most complimentary way. I could hardly wait to see more!

Program B to come.

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