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July 12, 2012 5:17 pm
To lose three dancers looks like carelessness, except that dance is live theatre and accidents do happen. To lose to injury all three “knife throwers” in Simone Sandroni’s The Girl and the Knife Thrower evokes troubling images, but the end result was the work’s withdrawal from Bavarian State Ballet’s final mixed bill in its successful Very British?! season. Its replacement was a potpourri of three short pieces, making for an ultimately unbalanced evening alongside Kenneth MacMillan’s dark, claustrophobic Las Hermanas and Russell Maliphant’s mesmeric After Light.
Set to Frank Martin’s troubling Harpsichord Concerto, Las Hermanas is an object lesson in the creation of tension, MacMillan gladly drawn to Lorca’s La Casa de Bernarda Alba and its tale of the destructive forces at play in a household of women. This is a splendid revival of a superb work; Nico Georgiadis’s moody set looks made for the Prinzregententheater’s smallish stage.
Ilana Werner exulted in her illicit affair with her eldest sister’s fiancé, throwing herself with abandon into a role that seems a dry run for Mayerling’s Mary Vetsera, and Séverine Ferrolier was a dry, angular eldest sister, unable to respond to Cyril Pierre’s insistent sexuality as her Betrothed. The strongest performance came from Roberta Fernandes as the second sister, her frustrated sexual yearning emerging as spite towards her siblings; movements waspishly mean, arms ever pointing in accusation.
Sandroni’s PS Isabelle Sévers – My Heart Only Broke Once presented the eponymous dancer in a 20-minute evocation of her career, musical and choreographic excerpts punctuated by her own spoken commentary. Of little consequence as a piece except perhaps to herself, it nonetheless showed Sévers to be a communicative artist.
Young dancers from the State Ballet’s junior company appeared in the remaining two replacement works: Intuition Blast, Ralf Jaroshinsky’s brash, populist balletic bromance for two youngsters, which even at 10 minutes outstayed its welcome; and the messy, choreographically anorexic The New 45 by Richard Siegal. That said, both pieces featured Shawn Throop, an eye-catchingly sparky young dancer with stage presence in spades.
Finally, to recalibrate a by now off-kilter evening came Daniel Proietto in Maliphant’s extraordinary Nijinsky-inspired After Light to Satie. Proietto’s focus and control are total. This elfin dancer displays complete unity of movement as he swirls and swoops and turns in the choreographer’s deft evocation of the ballet legend and his madness. A captivating end to an eventful evening.
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