Live Fire Excercise

Enough of  a reason to move to London, I think so. Enough of a reason, to marry Prince Harry for green card status…..debatable.

13, 16, 19, 20, 25 May at 7.30pm, 14 May at 12.30pm at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London:

On the bill: (the WORKS) BAllo della regina/ LIVE FIRE EXERCISE /dgv: danse À grandE vitesse

THE CHOREOGRAPHERS: George Balanchine / Wayne McGregor / Christopher Wheeldon

OTHER NAMES THAT IMMEDIATELY PIQUED MY INTEREST: Merrill Ashley (staging for the Balanchine piece),  Giuseppe Verdi (music for the Balanchine piece), and Sarah Lamb (one of the beautiful dancers)

I admit, I had never heard of John Gerrard before. Shame on me. I will say however, that his blog is the most unhelpful site ever in trying to get information. Here’s a link anyways:http://www.johngerrard.net/

 Here is the Press Release that was sent to Me. It’s pretty nondescript for what sounds, after further research, like a truly fascinating and amazing show.

Making its Royal Ballet premiere and opening the penultimate triple bill of the season is Ballo della Regina. Originally created for New York City Ballet in 1974, it is set to music cut from ballet scenes which were in the initial score of Verdi’s Don Carlos. Ballo della Regina is a series of brilliant, virtuoso variations, which push its lead ballerina to the limit of her technique.

 Following this is a world premiere from The Royal Ballet’s Resident Choreographer Wayne McGregor. Set to Tippett’s Fantasia Concertante on a Theme of Corelli and designed by the visual artist John Gerrard, it promises to showcase McGregor’s signature physically testing choreographic style.

 Finally, Christopher Wheeldon’s popular and critically acclaimed DGV: Danse à grande vitesse returns. The inspiration for the piece comes from Michael Nyman’s composition MGV: Musique á grande vitesse which was written to commemorate the inauguration of the French ‘train á grande vitesse’. The 26 dancers and electrifying score work together to transport the audience through varying emotional landscapes: from the feeling of being suspended in time and space, to the pulsating rhythm of relentless movement

I won’t spend much time speaking about the Balanchine piece, ‘Ballo Della Regina; – to be honest, I don’t even know what the title means- as it sounds like anything you might expect from a great Balanchine work: Classical music that is both beautiful and striking, and neo-classical ballet technique, not for the faint of heart. Seriously, his amount of quick footwork  and petite allegro will kill anyone not in top cardio shape. I will mention however, that it can’t hurt having Merrill Ashley – one of Balanchine’s dancers, so she actually rehearsed this with the original choreographer- working with these amazing dancers on the staging. She offers some great insight into Mr. B himself, the piece, and why it’s such a great opener for the show in this short video: (Also notice the girl in the first corps shot on the far right in the light blue. Is it just me or is she amazing? I love her movement quality)

The next piece on the bill is the ‘Live Fire Excercise’ – a completely original collaboration between Resident choreographer, Wayne McGregor (genius!) and artist John Gerrard. I’m so glad that this video exists to describe the piece because when I first was reading about it, I was coming up against such great images as ‘real time landscpaes’- which might as well be in ..whatever language ‘ballo della regina’ is in, because i have no idea what that little analogy means. From what I can tell, Gerrard actually photographed military troops being ‘exposed’ to explosions as part of training in Djibouti and then created sets based on those images, while choreographer McGregor studied the physicality of the people in the pictures and then created new movement from there. They explain it better than I do, watch the video, it sounds awesome!

The show closes with a piece by Christopher Wheeldon, considered one of America’s great choreographers. I think some of his early work looked like watered-down Balanchine as they seem to share a love of symmetry in corps formations, and a very balletic aesthetic in the port de bras and bodies of chosen dancers, but has done some really great work with a more expansive vocabulary in movement and themes. He seems to draw inspiration from a diverse and human-interest perspective.  Combine these more modern influences with (the Balanchine effect )  a classical approach in aesthetic, lines, and technique, and that might give you an idea. It’s something like….if the best French chef in the world decided to add asian or american cuisine fusion into a dish. It’s executed with skill, a little exotic, a little dirty, all around wonderful. That still sounds gross. So much for my being a wordsmith– again, just watch the video:

If you’re in London, it’s not to be missed. Or if you’re in London and need a date, and want to send me a plane ticket, I will gladly accept. Even from Prince Harry.

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