Koninklijk Ballet van Vlaanderen
Le Sacre du Printemps/The Rite of Spring
In the margin of the performance that I saw two weeks ago and the success of their recent USA-tour (they received an excellent review from Anna Kisselgoff !), I like to introduce you to the Royal Ballet of Flanders.
I think only few among the Ballet.co readers know that the major interest in dance in Belgium is focused on modern dance and comtemporary pieces. (Les ballets C.de la B, Ultima Vez, Rosas (Anna Teresa de Keersmaker) a.o.)
‘Het Koninklijk Ballet van Vlaanderen’ is the only existing classical balletcompany in Belgium.
Our company offers a good choice of both classical and contemporary ballet.
Since 1987, the artistic director Robert Denvers has -to my eyes-build-up a strong repertory.
In his own, particular way he takes up the challenge to bring dance to his audiences.
Mr.Denvers is ex-Béjart dancer and was soloist at Canadian Ballet. Being a Balanchine-adept he became a highly appreciated teacher in his NY-studio.
And…do you know that Robert Denvers invited Irek Mukhamedov as a guest-artist in Nureyev’s ‘Don Quichote’ ?
This was the first time ever that Irek was performing outside Russia with another company than the Bolshoi !
Being a good experience he has later been touring with Rbof to Athens and Istanbul.
Every year Denvers has added a full-length classical ballet to the repertory.
In many cases new choreographies on classical ballets are favorised.
Most of the ballets need some adaptation in choreography to resolve the problem of having fewer dancers available.
He offers also a clear line in the choice of his classicals, he presents them in cycli as the ‘ romantic classical ballets’ :
La Sylphide (Flemming Flindt), Giselle (Coralli,Perot & Petipa), Coppélia (Attilo Labis) and ‘La fille mal gardée (Joseph Lazzini). Last year he started a Petipa-cyclus with ‘The Nutcracker’, Sleeping Beauty and we are looking forward to “Swan Lake” next year.
This “Swan Lake” will be created by Jan Fabre, enfant terrible and artist. His sculptures and drawings are famous worldwide. This must be his 3rd cooperation with a major dancecompany.
Apart from these classicals the repertory is enriched with choreographies of Balanchine, Kylian, Béjart and others.
There is also a lot of new choreographic work presented.
Lot of these are from Danny Rosseel (the assistant director), Mauricio Wainrot and Christopher d’Amboise.
RboF is a ‘touring’ company. Only since a couple of years, they have their own rehearsal place in Antwerp.
A very ‘cosy’ venue (only 300 seats) makes you perceive dance in an other way.
They also take their productions to smaller towns through Belgium.
The Netherlands are one of the regular countries they visit. But in recent years they have been touring a lot abroad (USA, Japan, China, Egypt a.o. different European countries)
I’ve already told that the company is small : +/- 50 dancers.
Female principal is Aysem Sunal, male principal is Priit Kripson.
You can find more detailed info at : http://www.koninklijkballetvanvlaanderen.be (there is an English section)
I don’t like the look of this site but I heard they are working on it !
So I went to see the triple bill ‘Le Sacre du Printemps’ in Bruges.
* ‘Variation on a Theme’
Choreography : Christopher d’Amboise
Music : Igor Stravinsky
Scenery &light Marc Stanley
Costumes Holly Hynes
D’Amboise has been NYCB-dancer and created this piece with the Balanchine-vocabulary and style.
A ballet about simple and complex movements and emotions underlined and supported at the same time by the beautiful music.
Aiko Saito was excellent.
Our principal Aysem Sunal was -as always- fragile and delicate with a strong technique but seemed somewhat apathic at some moments.
D'Amboise sees this as a 'homage' to Balanchine and I think -with this good rehearsed cast he brought a nice ballet, worthwile seeing again.
* ‘Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen’
Choreography : Maurice Wainrot
Music : Gustav Mahler
Scenery & costurmes : Carlos Gallardo
Light : Marc Stanley
A new choreography on 4 songs : a translation of the diverse rythms and emotions.
A ballet with 4 male and 1 female dancer.
Aysel Sunal and Priit Kripson were a delight to see.
This was an uncompromised, smootley and entertaining dancing.
Nice to watch but quickly forgotten. Well, I think I don’t like dancing on Mahler.
* ‘Le Sacre du Printemps’
Choreography : Maurice Wainrot
Music : Igor Stravinsky
Scenery & costumes : Carlos Gallardo
Light: Marc Stanley
I only saw "the Rite of Spring” once : the Béjart-piece in the early 8-ties.
That was a mega-event on a large-scale stage with an abundance of dancers.
In Bruges the performance took place in a small provincial theater with about 25 dancers.
And I wondered if it could have the same impact on me as it has years ago.
It was soon clear that the powerful music and the intriguing choreography were the highlight of the evening.
Nearly 90 years after the first performance this ballet with his ritual subject is more than ever ‘contemporary’.
I was -again- impressed by the effect dance-language can have.
The chosen one-of this evening was Agalie Vandamme - a 26year soloist – and she made a strong and surprisingly performance. She was a touching victim and looked desparately to the audience to find help or a possibility to escape.
I got so involved ! I had even a feeling of embarrassement : just sitting there as a passive spectator and undertake nothing to help….
The most innovative part was the scene around the bath. The introduction of this water-element made a great contribution to the strenght of the performance.
This is also the key-act of the ballet : the chosen-one receives a ritual bath and you can feel the enforced acceptance at the end.
But the climatic rhythm of the dance of death is just breakteakening and takes the chosen-one up in a spiral of primitive power.
I have loved seeing Agalie in this role ! How nice to see the
evolution from an outstanding student at the balletschool to a
And when leaving the theatre -inevitable- you carry the music with you.
After this Stravinsky-experience I just had to see the ‘Stravinsky-staged’ in London