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Young Talents - Wiener Staatsballet - Jan 22nd, 2016

Young Talents - Wiener Staatsballet - Jan 22nd, 2016

Young Talents from the Vienna's State Ballet (Volksoper, January 22nd, 2016)

Attitude Devant

It surely is a privilege to be a direct eye-witness to what has been going on in Vienna for the last years during the so-called „Legris era“. Not only that, but also to be able to follow closely the individual progress of so many careers… This includes, of course, our young dancers…

“Junge Talente des Wiener Staatsballets” (Vienna's State Ballet’s Young Talents) is a small Gala that has a certain charm, therefore attracting a completely different audience to the “Volksoper”. Side by side with the customary (elder) Volksoper’s spectators you could find “Balletomanes”, young students from the Ballet school (screaming “Bravo” to their friends while not applauding other good dancers - politically VERY incorrect - and this just one row behind me), an international choreographer, ex-dancers and many foreigners, attracted by Mr. Legris’ name in the auditorium. Such “Galas” are refreshing and I must point that it is most important to invest in our young talents.  It is specially touching to witness the great progress of some dancers over just three, two years…

Since I have last seen this programme there have been minor cast changes.  After a mild beginning (Petit’s “Die Fledermaus” and “Pas des Odalisques” from "Le Corsaire”) the programme began to “warm-up” with “The Fall (Attila Bakó).   But the first true surprise of the evening was Laura Nistor in Bejárt’s “Arepo”: known as a very ethereal dancer, Miss Nistor displayed another side of her personality. Her magnificent lines were extremely well showcased in this choreography, specially underlined by the marvelous blue costume. But the point is: Miss Nistor had the chance to prove her versatility not being typecast as a “fairy” and dancing against type, she gave the clear impression of feeling very comfortable in this role. A joy.

James Stephens, from whom we’d see much more during the evening, proved once more to be a reliable, strong partner – something that cannot be said about other members of the company yet, either dancing with a girl or a boy. 

I never forgot this: Rule #1 for partnering: Take care of your partner and just then (try to) look good. The other way around does not work – and is mostly disastrous. No place for vanity while on stage. Mr. Basílio’s persona suits “Arepo” very well. But I have commented that last year. GreigMatthews and Anita Manolova, two very promising dancers, once more delightful in “Spring and Fall”. This piece suits Mr. Matthews and his technique very well. His jumps improved but most of all, he was at ease, not only with the beautiful use of his arms but also with pirouettes and tours en l’air (finishing in a precise 5th position – something that became quite rare on stage nowadays).

Balanchine’s “Tarantella” – a beautiful tour de force for lovely Nikisha Fogo who finally found the perfect partner for this quick piece that is filled with stamina. Even though for a while musically a bit lost during the first part (she recovered quickly from this sudden lapse) she managed to enchant the audience. The “spring quality” of the grand pliés en pointe à la seconde is still not there – the way Balanchine intended them to be – but it does not matter. Last year I have written very positively of her and I can only repeat every time that her progress as an artist is immense.

Géraud Wielick, simply powerful, strong, at ease with the technical challenges of the part and not looking for a single moment, as a peasant (Think of the original cast with Edward Vilella). Mr. Wielick passed the impression to the audience of having big fun while dancing. I especially enjoy the way Monsieur Legris has been investing and investing on Mr. Wielick since sometime. A gifted dancer that is beginning to flourish beautifully.

 Photo: copyright Thomas Schulz

Photo: copyright Thomas Schulz

Not much to tell about Balanchine's “Valse Fantaisie” except that James Stephens was last year a much more reliable partner to Miss Tonoli. Mr. Basílio did well on his solos, very well indeed – but perhaps the pressure of appearing in three ballets in one single evening was beginning to show.  Miss Tonoli’s exquisite arms, clean technique, lovely lines and very special charisma are something that her into a balletomane’s darling.  The classical dancer per se. I am positive that we will hear and be seeing even more of Miss Tonoli in the near future.

Choreographically speaking “Creatures” is my favourite piece of this programme.  A programme that was carefully put together by Monsieur Legris to lighten up his young dancers. 

Patrick de Bana’s incomparable "magical" touch/style (which is so rich in its use of different languages) comes wonderfully to life when danced by dancers like Nikisha Fogo, Francesco Costa, Marian Furnica & Géraud Wielick. Three boys with amazing physiques.  Miss Fogo, a dancer without affectations,  grew up even more in this role since last year: the intense richness of her performance, her remarkable technique and musicality – all three combined -  enthralled the audience once more (I love the effect of her pas-de-bourréesin comparison to the more “earthy”, round, sometimes pelvis-centered movements of the boys). That “magic moment” in which the “love affair” between the public and the artist came true once more. 

“Creatures” is one of the best rehearsed pieces of the show and one can feel how much accurateness the dancers dedicate to it and the full understanding, full awareness that they have about what they are doing.

Francesco Costa once more a show-stopper in “Le Bourgeois”.  Incredible energy.  Not one of my favourite pieces - but still... audiences love it - its humour, its (sometimes) circus-like line...

“Proust” was a disappointment for me: Mr. Stephens was (like Jacopo Tissi in the past) perfectly cast but Mr. Basílio was wrong for the role. He seemed tired and not at ease (already having danced “Arepo” and “Valse Fantaisie”). His grands Battements jetés balancés (backwards) were notably skew - and that was very obvious from the audience's angle of view.  Another dancer, not so “strong”, would have suited this role better.  But do not misunderstand me: Mr. Basílio is a gifted dancer. There is only some more work to be done. Mr. Stephens and his fine lines, gave a very good and clean display of technique and emotions.

The “finale” (“Grand Pas classique”) was a curious piece to watch. Both dancers (Adele Fiocchi and Marian Furnica) performed well – when NOT dancing with each other. Together their chemistry simply did not work, did not match. That happens sometimes. Apart? They were nice.

Another case of partnering. Resumée: a most enjoyable “revisted” evening - especially in what progress is concerned. Most enjoyable .

Congratulations Vienna's State Ballet for such a wonderful new generation!  

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