Program B played on July 15, 17, and 18th. I attended the 18th which was the final performance of the run. I have a tendency to like to attend the first and the last performances of anything. It’s interesting that the energy of a performance is usually different depending on the night. Everyone, both audience and performers, are excited and a little nervous on opening night. On closing night there is often a more relaxed feeling tinged with just a touch of sadness that the whole thing will soon be over. Before it began, I was already wishing that the afternoon would last a long long time.
Before Nightfall: Ch: Nils Christe, Music: Bohuslav Marinu, Dancers: Nina Polakova, Mihail Sosnovschni, Junko Takamura, Yuki Miyamoto, Chika Saeki, Yuji Matsushita, Rui Yoshinkawa, Naoyoshi Nagase
What a wonderful way to start an evening of dance. This piece was so very luscious, Nina has a very limb-y way of dancing so her arms & legs unfurl really beautifully and Mihail is very masculine in his dancing so together they really dominated this piece. I also have to say that I loved the gray costumes. Gray is such an underestimated color but the dresses and tights were so very lovely and softly romantic, gorgeous.
Don Quixote: Ch: Nureyev, Music: Minkus, Dancers: Liudmila Konovalova, Denys Chereyvchko
This was a pdd from the Nureyev version, which I really like actually, but perhaps the one that many people are less accustomed to(?). The Nureyev version (like all Nureyev versions) is faster and has killer footwork. If not done well, it can look like a mess as a result. In this case, it was done wonderfully and, of course, with Manuel Legris, last of the Nureyev babies, to coach them through this piece, I would have expected nothing less. The start was a bit bland, DQ has to be sassy! But Liudmila and Denys quickly got into the groove and upped their levels of ‘tude. Not my all time favorite narrative ballet but done well and non-the-less very enjoyable.
Mopey: Ch: Marco Goecke, Music: Bach, Dancers: Masayu Kimoto
Manuel clearly likes Goecke. I’m not sure that I’m all that crazy about him. This piece was basically Masayu flapping around frantically. There were some interesting bits and the overhead lighting was very cool. But there was this one part that was basically Masayu bouncing on his butt with his back to the audience and all I could think of was that Wii game Raving Rabbids! If you’re not familiar with the game it’s basically played by sitting on the Wii balance board and leaning or bouncing on your butt to play the game. The real fun of the game is watching other people play it! Pass, thank you.
Die Kameliendame, pdd from Act 2: Ch: John Neumeier, Music: Chopin, Dancers: Maria Eichwald, Friedemann Vogel
Translation: Lady of the Camellias. I’ve already gone on record that Neumeier is not my favorite choreographer and Camellias is not my favorite narrative ballet by far… but I’ve also gone on record that I have a feeling that as much as I love ABT, it can be done better. So here goes… one of my complaints has been that Camellias is too fast, frantic, and the lifts so complicated as to look painful vs. romantic. To me, Camellias should be luscious, rich, and thick with heartbreak and impending tragedy; also, one should see it and know that it is among the best of classic French literature, emphasis on French. Maria and Friedemann were well suited to the characters and it did slower. There were elements that were really lovely. I’m still not convinced that all the rolling around on the floor is romantic; it just looks and sounds clumsy. As I was watching, I was wondering if the lifts aren’t complicated as a choreo/literary device to foreshadow the complication and ultimately the pain of Armand and Marguerite’s relationship since the lift look so complicated and sometimes painful… but honestly, I think I’m projecting, hey, I’m a hopeful person! I didn’t hate it. I still want to see Stuttgart perform the whole thing.
Creatures: Ch: Patrick de Bana, Music: Dem Trio, Madijd Khaladj, Dhafer Youssef, Dancers: Mizuka Ueno, Patrick de Bana
I LOVE this piece. I’ve seen it twice before and it just burned a place in my memory. This time Patrick had a female partner which made it a little different. I loved that Patrick would create the piece for two dancers – not necessarily two male dancers or a male/female partnership! I had hoped that he would do it with Manuel because in my mind’s eye THAT pairing in this dance would just melt my brain in a completely perfect way. But this was really wonderful and memorable.
Manon, pdd from Act 1: Ch: MacMillan, Music: Massenet, Dancers: Nina Polakova, Manuel Legris
Oh happiness!!! I put my nerd-girl glasses on in public, I did not want to miss a thing. Seriously, Manu is ageless! His ability to dance and act with such youthfulness is nothing short of amazing! Gorgeousness, pure perfection! The music, the movement, Manuel Legris, I was in heaven, complete rapturous heaven! Thank god for an intermission afterward because I was absolute toast after that one pdd!!!
Silent Cry: Ch: Patrick de Bana, Music: Bach, Dancer: Patrick de Bana
I’m so glad that Manuel obviously really loves de Bana because I do too! I really never tire of his work, especially when he’s dancing it! Patrick de Bana+Bach=joy.
Grand pas Classique: Ch: Victor Gzovsky, Music: Daniel Auber, Dancers: Liudmila Konovalova, Dmitry Gudanov
So nice, very classic, very satisfying… yummy yummy ballet.
Canon: Ch: Jiri Bubenicek, Music: Otto Bubenicek, Johann Pachelbel, Dancers: Denys Cherevychko, Mihail Sosnovschi, Masayu Kimoto
I love the Bubenicek brothers, if you aren’t familiar with them, do yourself a favor and check them out. They dance, they choreograph, they make music, they are hysterical and their mom makes super cool apre-ballet booties! This piece is fantastic and these boys danced the heck out of it! More Bubenicek more!
Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux: Ch: Balanchine, Music: Tchaikovsky, Dancers: Babora Kohoutkova, Friedemann Vogel
Who doesn’t love Tchai Pas and with Friedemann! Nice, nice, nice! Some ballets just fill you with happiness and this is one of them.
Onegin pdd from act 3: Ch: Cranko, Music: Tchaikovsky, Dancers: Maria Eichwald, Manuel Legris
This piece closed every performance and I would have loved to have attended every night just for this alone! Manuel and Maria rip your heart out, I cannot begin to explain how very perfect they are and how emotional this ballet is. I know Onegin was a jerk but as Tatiana rips up the letter, I just want to stand up on the chair and yell “NOOOOOOO, look at him, he’s sorry!!! and he’s adorable, he has eyes of the palest blue, please don’t break his heart!!!!” I do like to watch Manuel run though, he runs really beautifully, and stands really beautifully and sits really beautifully and walks really beautifully and…
He also signs his name really beautifully so I headed out to the stage door again. After condemning the wearing of capri pants by men all week, guess what my Manu was wearing? hahaha! oh my, that’ll teach me.
After some excellent ramen for dinner, we headed to the hotel to pack and then off to Haneda airport and I glowed all the way home. I can hardly wait for Manuel’s next Gala!
Manuel+Japan=glowy happy me