Men in Motion – a Review January 27,2012

Daniel Proietto performs Russell Maliphant’s Afterlight 

What an exciting evening of dance put together by Ivan Putrov. It must have been a bitter disappointment to the dancers ,as it was to the audience, that the visas of two dancers hit ‘irresolvable issues’, and the absence of Merkuriev and Chudin forced the elimination of several pieces from the programme. I do not know why Igor Kolb did not perform his solo?

The evening began with ‘Le Spectre de la Rose’ because it was Nijinsky’s breakaway from the idea of the male dancer in a supporting role. That performance in 1909 initiated the explosion of male artistry as a focus of dance. The programme notes state ‘It is difficult for us, in the 21st century, to grasp the profound aesthetic shock created by Nijinsky and other virile Russian male dancers […]Female dancers had taken over major male roles […]in 1870, ‘Coppelia’ had featured Eugenie Fiocre in the leading role of Franz.’


Igor Kolb dancing Spectre at the Maryinsky

Igor Kolb, who appeared as a principal dancer on the Maryinsky Ballet’s tour last summer to London, gave us an elegant and accomplished performance. His long, slender body beautifully etches the technique. Elena Glurdjidze was his able partner . I felt very more-ish and was keen to see him in a new creation. But his solo choreographed by Dmitri Pimonov to music by Rene Aubry didn’t happen.

Sergei Polunin in Narcisse

Sergei Polunin entered the stage to applause and cheers. He performed ‘Narcisse’, choregraphed by Kasian Goleizovsky.The piece had a quiet to it in which difficult technical feats were performed with seeming effortlessness. It was pure dance. Polunin’s build reminds one of Nijinsky’s powerful stature. Polunin attained great height in his leaps and jumps which he managed with soundless ease. This was a concert piece which ended all too quickly. It seemed to float away like a dream.

Ivan Putrov then danced Frederick Ashton’s, ‘Dance of the Blessed Spirits’, a sensitive piece which allowed Putrov an expressive range within its stillness. It was a contained work, in which Putrov is drawing energy to himself, rather then releasing energy. It was quite concentrated.

After the interval came a show- stopping work ‘,AfterLight (Part One)’, choreographed by Russell Maliphant (he has choreographed for Sylvie Guilleme ), to music by Satie. The lighting designer, so important here, was Michael Hulls. This contemporary dance was brilliantly performed by a young talent who may not be so well-know in Europe, but should be, Daniel Proietto. The music, lighting and dancing fused into one experience, and you could hear a pin drop, as if the audience was somehow hypnotized by what was occuring on stage. Proietto was trained at the Instituto Super de Arte in Buenos Aires. Hermann Cornejo (see my blog) was also born in Argentina and graduated from the same Instituto. Proietto appears younger, but we have two great artists-although with different techniques, Daniel Poitto specialising in contemporary dance. He was a solitary luminous figure on stage intertwined in the patterns of light and beautifully simple melody. He was technically fluid, supple and accomplished.

Ivan Putrov organised a wonderful evening of dance

‘Ithaka’ choregraphed by Putrov seemed a beautiful piece that will further develop. It started from the narrative idea of emotional encounters (in the sense of Odysseus, perhaps, whether to linger with one enchantment (male) or to return to Penelope). The poem on which it is based by C.P.Cavfay , states that arriving is your destiny, but that the journey should not be hurried. Without Ithaka, Odysseus would not have set out: ‘Ithaka gave you the marvellous journey.’

The set was a large panel with gloss black panes painted upon it to resemble a window. The exotic score was by Dukas for ‘La Peri’.

Richard Bernas conducted an inspiring orchestra. The solo pianist , Philip Gammon, turned performance into collaboration. I am certain that Putrov was reflecting on the importance of music stressed by Diaghilev in his use of composers such as Stravinsky, Satie, Rimsky-Korsakov, Debussy, and on the importance Diaghilev placed upon set designers and costume designs, from Goncharova to Picasso to Leon Bakst.

How often in just over an hour of dance can you get it all- wonderful dancers, interesting set environments, unusual music and new choreography. It is very clear to see what a young male artist yearns for. Polunin complained this week when he resigned as a principal, that the Royal Ballet was too regulated. Like Leonardo da Vinci, these young dancers want to soar -la danse sans frontieres.

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