The Manu-athon of Dance – Program B

Okay, Program B. Two words – Aurélie Dupont.

First up, Creatures choreographed by Patrick de Bana and danced by Tamako Akiyama and Dimo Kirilov Milev. Creatures was created to be danced by two people regardless of gender pairing. That is one of the things that I love about this work. It’s such a powerful piece that it really transcends gender, the power is in two human beings. Creatures is about discovering our humanity, our deeply conflicted, tortured, beautiful humanity. It’s one of my favorite pieces period. I still remember the very first time I saw it, images of Dimo and Patrick dancing it are literally burned into my mind. This work was integral in inspiring me to begin my own search to learn to dance. The power and emotion of movement in this piece really did so much to change the way I view dance, I can’t talk about it enough. And it was gorgeously danced. I love it, they could keep doing this over and over until it’s time for Manuel to dance!

Next, Neumeier’s Nocturnes danced by Silvia Azzoni and Alexandre Riabko to a live pianist on stage. You know, I adore that, having musicians on stage with dancers. Seriously, it’s perfection. Not that the choreography was bad – it was lovely but honestly Silvia and Alexandre could dance the Sesame Street alphabet and be breathtaking. FYI, I am NOT a Sesame Street person. I find most dolls disturbing and when I was little, it was Romper Room that initially put me off kids shows. Remember that lady with the mirror-less mirror calling out kids names? She wasn’t fooling anybody, she was making crap up! Plus, I was positive that it was a show for, you know, slow kids – because those kids were way to big to be illiterate, plus when I was five years old, I was vehemently against phonics as a pedagogy to teach children to read. These kids didn’t know what an albatross was, how was that going to help them understand the letter – A! Oh, oh, sorry… ballet…

L’arlesienne danced by Maria Yakovleva and Kirill Kourlaev was next. Have you seen the YouTube vid of Manuel dancing this piece at a Julio Bocca thing in New York?  Drool!

Kirill did not dance it like this. Too bad too. It was just not as crisp, as haunted, as tragic. The menage wasn’t dramatic enough, I mean, the man is about to jump to his death, it needs to be  manic – T-R-A-G-I-C.

More de Bana, this time in Factum. This is a relatively new work, it was created for ImpulsTanz in Vienna, I believe. I missed that, I had to, you know, write a dissertation. Sexy. Naughty. A little bit raunchy. I like it, I like it. This work is also flamenco-y inspired but not full on flamenco. Patrick danced it with Helena Martin and she is just brilliant at drama, she must have Latin blood, that’s all I can say.

Okay. Okay. Le Parc. The kissing, twirling PDD. You haven’t seen it? Oh. My. Ballet. Gods! Where have you been?

I love this so so so so so so so so so so so much. So much. It’s sexy and sad and beautiful and somehow tragic but ultimately gorgeous surrender. I LOOOOOVVVVEEEE it. And it’s even better in person, up close, and in person. Aurelie cannot retire and leave us. She just can’t. If you can watch this and not fall in love with Manuel, I just really don’t know what to say about you… okay, I know I’m already tragically enamored but seriously… watch the video again. See what I’m saying!?

Intermission – yeah, because after that we are all puddles on the floor!

We are treated to a work by Dimo Kirilov Milev called Aimless danced by Dimo and Tamako Akiyama. I have to find out more about these two because they are awesome and this contemporary piece was insanely adorable but also intriguing and clever. Throw back sort of 70’s styled bell bottom pants and shirts, breezy, just hanging out music by Marc Ribot. I liked it. A lot.

Theme and Variation with Liudmila Konovalova and Denys Cherevychko. This is the one that David Hallberg refers to as the Pink Monster because at ABT they wear pink when they dance it, but Liudmila, Denys and the Tokyo Ballet wore light blue and looked fantastic. Liudmila has these arches that are to die over. Denys was perking up and all in all, Theme and Variation is a wonderful classical piece, wonderfully danced by all and what classical ballet should look like. YAY!

Not Without My Head choreographed by Natalia Horecna and danced by Silvia and Alexandre. I have never heard of this work before – there was yelping, hollering, muttering, and a lot of odd flailing. There was also great whimsy, fantastic partnering, and a wonky but interesting narrative there. I got to see it twice but I want to see it a couple of more times. It’s one of those great pieces that you can think about and then talk about for days.

Moszkowski Waltz danced by Maria and Kirill was pure loveliness and the audience loved it. Two of the most adorable little girls wearing tutus were sitting behind me and they started yelling “brava, brava!” Too, too or tutu cute. It’s not deep but it’s gorgeous and it’s quite satisfactory to the eyes and  to the heart.

Now I know that Neumeier’s Sylvia is not everyone’s favorite. But I have to admit, I like it better than the classical version that we all think of when we think of the ballet Sylvia. And once again, I get to watch Manuel Legris throw himself at a woman’s feet in the tragedy of love lost (because I could watch him do that in Onegin FOREVER) and even though it’s perfect, I fight the urge to stand on my seat and yell… “But he threw himself at your feet! Dear god, woman, for the love of the world and all that is holy, that is Manuel Legris lying on the floor before you!” But I control myself, you’d be proud. Neumeier’s Sylvia as a whole – you know, there’s that love/hate thing – but the final PDD, I die.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again – Manuel Legris’ Tokyo gala’s are INSANELY FABULOUS. The programs, the dancers, everything makes for a perfect evening of dance. So much to see, to take in, to think about, to talk about, to dream about. It’s beyond satisfying, it’s dance nourishment. I almost hate to have to go home. But homebound we are… and I can hardly wait for next year!

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