Stuttgart Ballet presented the much-publicized world premiere of a ballet made for former ballet director and ballerina Marcia Haydee and one of the world's most celebrated young male dancers, Vladimir Malakhov, on September 23. The ballet Elle E(s)t Moi ("She is Me") is about the love between a youth (Felix) and an older woman (Blanche); the plot is closely related to Honore de Balzac's romantic novel Die Lilie im Tal, but the details of the work were quite interesting in their own right. [see Hotline, Dance Magazine, September 1999, page 28]
The youth, who has failed to find his place in the world, is contemplating death. He meets a middle-aged woman who has lived a wonderful life. They form a brief but happy union. The woman dies, but her love awakens the youth to life.
Unfortunately, the choreographer, Jean Christophe Blavier, was unable to carry out the full meaning of the plot. It is possible that the ballet was too short. The first part, too long for a one-act ballet, consists of Felix's expositional monologue. By comparison, the last part--the most important one in which the youth returns to life--is allotted only several seconds.
The choreography of the ballet was also uneven and lacked a certain unity. The monologue, although long, was interesting. The mechanical and doll-like movements immediately define the youth's character. After the mystical meeting with the woman, the movements change, defining his move from doll to man. In Blanche's room, Felix flies in happiness; Malakhov does jete en tournant with his usual brilliance. This transformation is well-presented by Blavier's choreography, but the beautiful scenes are suddenly interrupted by pantomime-naturalistic movement. This immediately breaks the total look and style of the piece.
Blanche was danced by Marcia Haydee, one of the greatest actress-dancers of the 1960s and 1970s. The thirty-year-old Malakhov is a star of today's ballet world. His greatest strength as a dancer lies in the dance itself. Blavier took a bold risk uniting two dancers who belong to different generations and dance eras, who have completely different directions as dancers, and who are completely different as actors. The problems created by these differences were only partially dealt with.
In Elle e(s)t Moi, Haydee looks like an actress of the silent-movie era during her solos. The choreographer was unable to find the right movements for her. In her monologues she dances only with her arms. The beautiful costume (by Jordi Roig) does not suit her, but makes her appear heavy. On the other hand, the duets between Haydee and Malakhov were well staged, and were both beautiful and emotionally fulfilling, especially Blanche's death scene in Felix's arms.
Although the choreographer obviously planned the duets with his eye on the big picture, just as they do in the movies, the smooth flow of the movements was choreographed as it should be in a ballet.
Malakhov's performance was extremely interesting. He showed that he has reached mastery of his art; he wasn't afraid to be both funny and awkward as Felix. His poignant and amusing dance with the flowers that he brings Blanche on their first date is one of the ballet's highlights. Here Malakhov set the tone for the next scene: the virginal boy falling in love with a mature woman. He was also unafraid to perform in a ballet where his abilities as a dancer are not fully represented. Instead, he used these same abilities to maximize the text of the role. The expressiveness, musical ability, and artist's feel for any and every choreographic style are remarkable.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Title Annotation:||Review; Staats Theater, Stuttgart, Germany|
|Article Type:||Dance Review|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2000|
|Previous Article:||SIOBHAN DAVIES DANCE COMPANY.|
|Next Article:||Another Century, Another Show.|