Sunday, April 10, 2016

Amazing dancing!

During the many years I lived in NYC I had the privilege of seeing a lot of wonderful ballet. The top companies in the US and some from other countries. When I visited Russia many, many years ago I saw the Maryinski do Swan Lake and loved it. I've seem really wonderful ballet and it thrills me enormously; I consider ballet dancers the supreme physical athletes in the world.  What they can do with their bodies, all with enormous grace and as part of a musical presentation is astonishing.

This afternoon I saw a simulcast from the Bolshoi in Moscow. I've seen other simulcasts from there, Nutcracker and Swan Lake and I've thought they were magnificent but , aside from the incredible leaps  of the danseurs which seemed loftier and more prolonged than anything I had seen, I did not think this company was better than, although certainly the equal of, American dance companies.

Today I saw Don Quixote (or Don Quichotte, as they spelled it), a ballet with music very derivative of Tchaikovsky but not as inventive. According to the intermission speaker (a retired ballerina who speaks Russian, French and English, with a disconcerting breathless effort ) they have been doing this ballet almost since their beginings, some 150 years, although the choreography has been changed by various ballet master over the years. This was a lavish, full length -- four hours (with two 25 minute intermissions) -- ballet. The pace was almost frantic, I've never seen so much very fast dancing by both soloists and corps. The music always had a Spanish favor as did the costumes which were lavish, colorful and very, very graceful.  I will mention also that the non-dancing role of the Don was perfectly cast with a very tall, very slender man who arrived on stage twice on a white horse (far more beautiful than Cerantes' Rosinate, a poor old nag. An Sancho Panza arrived on a little black donkey  -- we was not the rotund character from the book --after all he is a ballet dancer -- but both were delightful.

The technical precision -- in fact, perfection ! -- was astonishing.  I do not know how anyone had the energy to do two more acts after the speed of the first act but they did and they were more and more brilliant.  The final solos and pas de deux of the two stars was so amazing I had tears in my eyes from simply being thrilled that such  grace and beauty within rapid movements was possible!  I felt there could not be another ballet company anywhere with the technical perfection  that I saw on stage this afternoon/last night, as it were, since it was a simulcast. 

The wonders of technology are at their very best, I think, when something of this caliber can be seen, literally around the world.

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