Last night I finally went to ballet to see “Multiplicity. Forms of Silence and Emptiness”. Although an occasional ballet-goer, I am not an expert in evaluating a piece, but this one – I find truly exceptional. Why I said ‘finally’? Well, already few months ago I had a chance to be invited to the rehearsal and I have instantly realized that this is something that I would like to see. And it was almost impossible to find a match when I am in Munich on the day of the show. But to this personal story related to rehearsal, I am coming back later. Now about last night:
Commissioned from a Spanish choreographer, Nacho Duato, in 1999 for City of Weimar for the occasion of being European Cultural Capital, the piece represents a collection of works of Johan Sebastian Bach interpreted in a originall modern yet humorous way. First part, “Multiplicity”, is more vivid, energetic and shows a choreographic variety, not only in dance moves, but also in costumes and stage scenes. Some classics are here the sequences when the dancers are portraying music instruments in a concert, where music appears to come from their bodies, or another one, where Bach ‘plays’ a cello, that is, another dancer (to me – a bit daring though).
For a video excerpts, please see below.
Second part, “Forms of Silence and Emptiness”, is more spiritual, introspective and subliming the idea of death, with Arte of Fugue being a basis throughout the part.
It was interesting that Nacho Duato does not often distinguish between dancers’ genders. We see them most of the time dressed only in shorts and tanks tops. On the other side, Bach stands out in his barock costume and every time the choreographer wants to emphasize another element, it really stands out with colour or dress element. Having black being a predominant colour on stage and light relatively dim, it is sometimes almost impossible to track all dancers’ moves. I loved this play of dark and light.
However, the rehearsal was also an experience for me. It is then when you can finally realize that the dancers are ‘just the regular people’: that they go to work every day but that their professional careers are shorter, and they have to make a shift to something often similar to dancing later. Hey, if you imagine male ballet dancers somewhat feminine – well, this time I was wrong. There were some tough boys there, wearing a sort of hiphop style clothes. What amazed me there was the energy that these young people had and off course their talent. From what I have heard from others, Bayerische Staatsballet is one of the best in Germany, as they try not only to show classic pieces, but also choreographies of Mats Ek, William Forsythe, just to name few. My personal favourite is Mats Ek, as I have ‘re-discovered’ modern ballet in Dansens Hus in Stockholm.
Although not having some particular talent, dances have always fascinated me: acrobatics, folk, breakdance, classic… My personal recollections to ballet are often melancholic. It happened few times that I went to watch dances when I felt particularly distressed or sad and it would always make me feel better. Obviously, it was like that this time as well!
P.S. To prove it: I went afterwards with some friends to put my dance moves now in practice
P.P.S. For some preview, here is a summary of the ballet, where you can also hear from Nacho Duato himself and generally about performance, in German and English – although the performance video is nothing like the live thing:
My personal favourites in this excerpt are:
(around 0.23) ‘Orchestra’: maybe even the most favourite part of whole ballet
(around 2.34) funny moments such these are often in the first part; I love the energy and allegro of this one
(around 2.58) ‘Cello’
(around 5.50) nice romantic piece
(around 7.00) very strong piece dealing with religious elements and inquisition
(around 8.28) when ‘Death’ destroys ‘Music’