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Subject: "10 mins on: Ballet for Life by Bejart Ballet" Archived thread - Read only
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #966
Reading Topic #966
Bruce Madmin

29-09-00, 07:22 AM (GMT)
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"10 mins on: Ballet for Life by Bejart Ballet"
   Wanted to get some information up on the site rapidly about this - its the second programme from Bejart at Sadler's Wells and runs through to Saturday night, so not long if you want to go. They also have a matinee performance on Saturday now - due to high demand it seems

Anyway I have 10 mins so take it as you find it.....

Ballet for Life runs for about 100 minutes with no interval and involves the whole company in dancing to 20 pieces by Queen and Mozart. There is great variety, some subtlety, some brash stuff and some silly/pretentious stuff. In parts it is quite uplifting and joyous, but it is very long and I fidgeted at times and somebody in front nodded off for a while.

The main reason for going is to see the company - they are just so good looking and have such panache. Everyone seems to have something - almost like looking at a collection of soloists with attitude. And he has some very tall dancers that impose an extra dimension at times. The costumes by Versace are terrific fun too. A beautiful company.

At the end Bejart appeared in a floodlight pool and welcomed the dancers on individually and in pairs for a bow. Pure theatricality it was like a large family get together and rather emotional... and the audience gave a standing ovation. If you told me a week ago I would stand at the end of a Bejart programme (and not run out) I would have laughed myself senseless!

So what do others think?

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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: 10 mins on: Ballet for Life by Bejart Ballet Stuart Sweeney 29-09-00 1
     RE: 10 mins on: Ballet for Life by Bejart Ballet Estelle 29-09-00 3
  RE: 10 mins on: Ballet for Life by Bejart Ballet viviane 29-09-00 2
  Ballet for Life by Bejart Ballet Stephanie Wragg 01-10-00 4

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Stuart Sweeney

29-09-00, 08:33 AM (GMT)
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1. "RE: 10 mins on: Ballet for Life by Bejart Ballet"
In response to message #0
   I agree with Bruce that the Bejart Ballet dancers are wonderful. From the first programme I was again impressed by Juichi Kobayashi, who danced the Bejart solo in the RB International Choreography programme. Gil Roman was also excellent and the gamine Christine Blanc danced with elegance and musicality.

The overall quality of the dancers and their preparation is also very high. With his stratospheric reputation in continental Europe, Bejart has his pick of dancers and presumably the resources to ensure high performance standards.

Delighted to hear that the 'Ballet for Life' works pretty well. Apart from 'Bolero' the other works in the first programme were rather flat in terms of choreography and theatre.

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29-09-00, 10:06 AM (GMT)
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3. "RE: 10 mins on: Ballet for Life by Bejart Ballet"
In response to message #1
   I have good memories of Juichi Kobayashi in some performances of Bejart's company a few years ago... Bejart's company hs a great level indeed.

But Stuart, I think the term "stratospheric" about Bejart's reputation in "continental Europe" is a bit exaggerated. I don't know much about other countries, but in France, there are some critics who love his works whatever he does, but also quite a lot of others who really loathe his works, or who seem to think that he's more interesting as a "phenomene de societe" than as an artist. Also, while he was considered as "avant-garde" in the 50s and 60s, now he probably is closer to the world of ballet than to contemporary choreographers (in his interviews, he repeatedly said very negative things about all younger French contemporary choreographers, and I suspect that that generation of choreographers don't think much good about it).

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29-09-00, 09:05 AM (GMT)
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2. "RE: 10 mins on: Ballet for Life by Bejart Ballet"
In response to message #0
   Thank you Bruce !
Finally some 'heartwarming' news about Béjart in England !
I'm not a ballet-connoisseur, but the only thing I knew -for long-about ballet was Béjart (the Jorge Donn-time)
(Now I need to learn a lot more, otherwise I can no longer communicate with my ballerina-daughter)
Sometimes Béjart is just magic and I'm pleased to hear that the magic wand also works in England.
During summer I often take my children to see a Rudra-performance, there is that 'family-feeling' great. I love to see that every dancer is appreciate in his own personality and limits.
Viviane (architect and toy-collector)

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Stephanie Wragg

01-10-00, 12:05 PM (GMT)
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4. "Ballet for Life by Bejart Ballet"
In response to message #0
   I just saw the final performance of "Ballet for Life" last night and was very pleased with the evening. I thought the whole presentation went by so fast that I was surprised and disappointed at the end...more more!!!

The finale was wonderful, with Bejart greeting his dancers and taking his bows...it had great dramatic quality to it which fit very well with the performance. Perhaps this is the appeal of Bejart in Europe, the theatricality and fearlessness to show emotion on the stage which is not really in the British temperament I think. As bruce mentionned, some of the stuff may be brash and pretentious, but it leaves no one indifferent and that's what counts.

I loved the interplay of lighting with the stage action, the first piece set to 'It's a beautiful day' had the dancers lying under white sheets, but you couldn't see the body forms until they sat up to say good morning, because of the lighting. There were other instances, notably during a solo by the excellent Gil Roman, I think the one set to Mozart's musique funebre.

There was a lovely section set to Mozart that I can't find listed in the program, but I am pretty sure it was the "Elvira Madigan" piano concerto slow movement. I though this was great, the main couple in garish colours dancing about while two bodies on gurneys are being moved about by hospital attendants. Don't ask. There were some excellent performances, I was most impressed by Baptiste Gahon in the Millionaire Waltz, he had wild hair and the most expressive face. My only disappointment was not being able to see the complete projection screen for the Jorge Donn section set to 'I want to break free', I was sitting in row J of the second balcony and got only the bottom 2/3 or so...

The use of the sets was interesting, with the dancers slamming into the walls like bugs into a windshield...or getting 16 male dancers to move within the 3-sided cube when it was moved to face the stage. Yikes, 16 barely clad men within a 10x10 space or so...There are so many intersting points ot this piece, I do hope peole will watch it when it is broadcast on the arts/dance cable TV channel.

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