Gigs, dance, art

May 21st: Ballet de l’opéra de Lyon

@théatre de la ville

The show opened with Ralph Lemon’s Rescuing the Princess, without music for the most part, which set apart the few moments with music, even more so as those were the ones when the dancers formed a group. Or maybe it just seemed that way to me. The beginning was pretty strong, with pairs of dancers supporting or pushing back each other before one left and another whirled onto the stage. The good thing is that this didn’t last long enough to settle down into a system, but I didn’t think the rest lived up to that part. Part of the problem for me was the high technical skill of the dancers, which neutered some of the potency of the choreography. That’s perfect with some choreographers like Forsythe or Cunningham, not so much here. The slower parts with less dance worked around this nicely, so it was still pretty good.

Speaking of Cunningham, the second part was his Beach Birds. I was nice seeing Cédric Andrieux after that Jérome Bel show, and here the dancers’ skill was completely appropriate. Still, it was a little heavy on the cold side, and the costumes were a bit too much for me. I was pretty close to the stage, but I thought the dancers were hiding the strain and difficulty a little too well. Without that human element, it felt a little too close to some computer-generated images. Which is part of the point, but the lack of failure made it less interesting for me.

The last part was clearly my favorite. It had been years since I last saw anything by Trisha Brown — long time no see indeed — and I clearly regret that now. I liked a lot the way dancers would come on and off the stage proper, joining, doing something close but different, or completely different from those already there. It was all fluid and changing, but also very consistent. Maybe I would think otherwise if I was more familiar with Brown’s work, but this felt refreshing to me even though it was written almost 3 decades ago. It was fast enough to put the dancers’ technical skill to good use while changing so often with a focus on small groups that the numbing coldness never had time to set in. I still would like the dancers to be more like individuals, but that was a as good a show as can be without this element.


May 24, 2010 - Posted by | Dance | , , , ,


  1. It’s the second post on ballet I read here, and obviously, we haven’t got quite the same taste, or sensitiveness (Rescuing the Princess just got on my nerves, although I admit there was some beautiful mouvements in it, that would have deserved something more structured). Yet, I value your point of view and like to read something different about the dance performances I saw. I agree for the cold side of Beach Birds, even though I ended up finding some humanity in its animal symbolic – the way the penguins leant the cheek over the other’s back, for instance. And as for Trisha Brown, it was most enjoyable. Well perhaps our tastes aren’t poles apart, after all… I hope I didn’t anoy you and would be delighted to come back if I indeed did not.

    Comment by mimylasouris | June 24, 2010 | Reply

  2. For some reason I had to rescue your comment from the spam queue, and that wasn’t too timely either — so many things going on these days, I hadn’t even logged in for a while.

    No annoyance at all from my part, quite the opposite. I read your post about this performance, and I think we’re not that apart. I try to focus on what I liked — because a single great moment still beats staying home — but I think we’re no that far apart in terms of ranking the three parts.

    Anyway, anyone who can squeeze in a David Lynch reference — damn, I should have thought of that one — is most welcome, and the same goes for their friends. Well, this thing is public, so anyone is welcome, but you are even more so. I plan to check out your blog, but right now I’m just too busy and I’m ashamed to say sleep tops my to-do list right now.

    Comment by counterfnord | June 26, 2010 | Reply

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