4 Elements, National Theatre Brno (Národni divadlo Brno), Première: March 9th,2018
I was quite excited to attend this Première at the National Theatre in Brno (Národni divadlo Brno). It is not every day that I get to be in a Première with a company that I grew to be very fond of, to witness a new choreography by Lukás Timulák and works by Jiri Kylián and Nacho Duato, two choreographers whose work I have been following since decades - yes, decades! - and much admire. Yes.
I could not have known that I was going to meet Nacho Duato personally – “just” 22 years after the première of “Remanso” with the ABT which I had attended in New York – otherwise I would have been even more excited!
Four elements: a “notion” that can be differently understood and interpreted depending on your state of mind… what are we talking about? Earth, water, air and fire? Or do we extend our perception to “other” elements, other than these “basic” ones? The Chinese list wood and metal as elements… And do we go further and accept that feelings, emotions are also elements? I, particularly, tend to “open” the definition of the word “element” and make it as broad a concept as it can be… dance, the human body, emotion, music. Are these not SOME of the elements that made this evening possible, among so many others?
“Hidden Order” by Lukás Timulák fascinated me in the way it handled the (so-called) structured world. Even if the programme uses the word “pattern”, I’d rather use words as “cast” (yes, like a plaster cast, like a corset) and “model” - which are stronger words for me – because, in our present world, everyone is somehow modeling himself after the image that others want to see. Take the world of advertisement, fashion and even Art as an example. No need to discuss this any further – I am sure you have got the message.
Even if I got somehow nervous, at the very beginning, while dancers started "walking around" (I dread "walks" on stage for lack of choreographic ideas to fill a gap), I could relax immediately. It was NOT a "fit of walking around" as I have already experienced so many times before...
Very intelligent sets by Peter Bilak. They made possible for the movements to be dualy understood: whether the dancers were standing in front of or behind them. Fascinating this possibility of reading the movements in two (or more) different ways – according to your point of view. And I mean really POINT OF VIEW, not only your perception. A very good and precise effect.
Definitely “Hidden corner” is very different from the other pieces that were to come, which are more “pure” in its very reduced way of using sets and props.
Lovely Emilia Vuorio gave life to quite a difficult dance language. Since a long time I had not seen so much use of “shoulders” and this in an own, very special way. Many times the movements were not “finished” leaving the impression of a certain imprisonment within oneself. Fascinating.
“Sarabande” by Jiri Kylián, a piece that originally had its première in 1990, still fascinates me. Although, and I must say this, it turned to be sometimes somehow “dated”. The “voice effects” are not anymore as surprising as they were more than 25 years ago. But that is natural. Times change.
The boys are in great shape, in fact, the male dancers of NdB are in exquisite top form – an example to many other companies. No bellies but very slim waists. Naturally it is a joy to look at athletic dancers – and they are NOT athletes but extremely sensible dancers in their prime. Special note to Peter Lerant, Uladzimir Ivanou and Martin Segeta’s performances: Mr. Segeta, a dancer I am very fond of, caught my attention during “West Side Story” last year, also in Brno. Strong potential.
( a short note: more attention should be paid to the Make-up in order to achieve a more homogeneous effect. There was a male dancer with more Make-up than the girls)
“Falling Angels” – is, in contrast to “Sarabande” (an all-female cast to Sarabande’s all-male cast), a very strong piece which I had never seen before. It did not become dated.
One has the feeling that it is much longer than “Sarabande” but one does not want them to stop. Using words to describe such a work of dance is nearly blasphemy. Kylián’s very special language, dynamic and musicality in every single stretch of a movement are exciting, contagious, electrifying – No need of a scenery (like we had already experienced with “Hidden Order”). This is another completely different world – one that causes emotion to come to the surface without any help. One that is dance itself. In its very visceral side.
Women: strong, decided, inexhaustible, focused, strong, expressive, intuitive, strong…
The Czech Première of Nacho Duato’s “Gnawa” could not have been a happier one. It gave us again that unique, special way that Mr. Duato has of melting one movement into the other, one formation into another and into a variation of it, one scene into the next. Fascinating. Dance as a vital element.
It felt, in a very North-African way, like honey and oil melting, flowing… Consistent but on the other hand impossible to hold just for yourself. And there was magic in the air. Yes, magic.
Mystic and exotic without using any of the well-known clichés about the Arab world, that "brought back to me" memories of Andalusia. Later, while talking to Mr. Duato, he explained to me that much of this work was in fact to “thank” to his own origins: Valencia. I added that I do not know Valencia but that his choreography had brought me somehow back to the “Alhambra” in Granada. He looked at me and said that he had based some parts of it in images that he has seen there. The circle was finished. Now I could understand why I had this feeling of being inside a fairy-tale all the time. Yes. I must read "The Tales of the Alhambra" by Washington Irving again...
The dancers were “at home” in “Gnawa”: the girls as dynamic as the boys. Wild, daring, nearly like tigresses. And again Emilia Vuorio “stole” the show with her performance. A gifted dancer.
Incredible to realize that this is a 1992 piece. It has not lost its flair, enchantment that dazzles the audience. I can well imagine that It is as actual and touching as it was 26 years ago.
Résumé: what an evening! High level, high caliber, strong emotions, world-known choreographers... Mário Radačovský's direction is making all this possible. He is turning this company into an extremely good one. Congratulations!
This Press trip was only made possible with the kind support of Czech Tourism