Sergei Danilian and Ardani Artists Management
(Ardani Artists Website)
Kings of the Dance 2010
At City Center
(City Center Website)
Jose Manuel Carreño, Guillaume Coté, Marcelo Gomes,
David Hallberg, Joaquin De Luz, Denis Matvienko,
Desmond Richardson, Nikolay Tsiskaridze
Ballet Master: Yury Fateev
Executive Producer: Gina Ardani
Film Direction: Alex Goldstein with Theresa Khawly
Lighting Designer: Elena Kopunova
Stage Manager: Irina Zibrova
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
February 19, 2010
(See Kings of the Dance 2006)
For 4 (2006): Music by Franz Schubert, Choreography by Christopher Wheeldon, Costumes by Jean-Marc Puissant, Performed by Denis Matvienko, Jose Manuel Carreño, Joaquin De Luz, Guillaume Coté.
Small Steps (2009): Music by Michael Nyman, Choreography by Adam Hougland, Performed by Marcelo Gomes.
Vestris (1969): Music by Gennady Banshikov, Choreography by Leonid Jakobson, Costume by Elena Zaitseva, Performed by Denis Matvienko.
Dance of the Blessed Spirits (1978): Music by Christoph Gluck, Choreography by Sir Frederick Ashton, Performed by David Hallberg.
Five Variations on a Theme (2008): Music by J.S. Bach, Choreography by David Hernandez, Performed by Joaquin De Luz.
Ave Maria (2001): Music by Franz Schubert, Choreography by Igal Perry, Performed by Jose Manuel, Carreño.
Lament (Undated): Music by Charles Veal, Jr., Caroline Worthington, Choreography by Dwight Rhoden, Performed by Desmond Richardson.
Fallen Angel (2009): Music by Gia Kancheli, Samuel Barber, Choreography by Boris Eifman, Performed by Nikolay Tsiskaridze.
“Morel et Saint-Loup” from the ballet Proust ou les Intermittances du Coeur (1974): Music by Gabriel Fauré, Choreography by Roland Petit, Staging by Luigi Bonino, Performed by Guillaume Coté and Marcelo Gomes.
Remanso (1997): Music by Enrique Granados, Choreography by Nacho Duato, Set and Costumes by Nacho Duato, Lighting Design by Brad Fields, Staging by Tony Fabre, Organization/Production by Carlos Iturrioz – Media Producciones SL, Performed by David Hallberg, Guillaume Coté, Marcelo Gomes.
The Grand Finale
This was a highly anticipated evening in the ballet community here in New York, as Sergei Danilian’s “Kings of the Dance” extravaganza was last presented four years ago, also at City Center. This time, instead of four Kings and invited guests, Mr. Danilian brought us eight “Kings”, with Desmond Richardson the only dancer who was not part of a team of duos, trios, or ensembles. The evening was well worth waiting for, with only a dance or two that disappointed. As can be seen above, there were no fewer than 12 dances (including those on filmed rehearsal), and on the 20th there would even be an extra solo dance by Guillaume Coté, a daunting evening for both performers and audience.
The eight Kings represented numerous companies and countries: Carreño (Cuba, American Ballet Theatre), Coté (Canada, National Ballet of Canada), Gomes (Brazil, ABT), Hallberg (USA, ABT), De Luz (Spain, New York City Ballet), Matvienko (Ukraine, Mariinsky Theatre), Richardson (USA, Complexions), Nikolay Tsiskaridze (Russia, Bolshoi).
The introductory film was beautifully arranged with chiaroscuro effects, and the Kings spoke of their unique experiences, with rehearsal clips intermixed. For 4, a Wheeldon work, was not the best opening number, as it had passive, soft elements that lacked both ethereal and dynamic qualities. Many of Wheeldon’s phrases were borrowed from his repertory, and the male lifts, stretches, exits and entrances were déjà vu. Of course, in keeping with the virtuosity of the event, there were open leg spins, somewhat like fouettés, but the choreographic repetition lacked charisma. Of course, these dancers are always magnetic, but they were poorly served in this dance design. Small Steps brought the ever charismatic Marcelo Gomes out, and this muscular, driven, intense work was riveting and worth seeing again. Adam Hougland deserves kudos.
Vestris was the most disappointing work of the evening, with Denis Matvienko, who has wowed New York audiences in previous appearances, in a campy, quasi-Mozart costume, looking unusually thin, silly, and caught in a bad act. Dance of the Blessed Spirits, a solo for David Hallberg, was eloquent. The ever mesmerizing Mr. Hallberg stood on a pedestal, like a statue, coming to life to Gluck’s rapturous score. Of course it helped that Ashton choreographed this work, meshing regality and surrealism for a stunning and gripping performance. Joaquin De Luz was next, in Five Variations on a Theme of J.S. Bach, David Fernandez’ dance design. Mr. De Luz danced with rapid virtuosity, using all his strength in powerful leaps, a joy to watch.
Igal Perry’s Ave Maria brought Jose Manuel Carreño onstage, who appeared with a bare back to the audience, all aglow and on fire. With the Schubert score ardent and mystical, Mr. Carreño added slow and restrained phrases, an amazing feat for this muscular dancer. He kept attitude and bravura in check in keeping with the soulful ambiance. Dwight Rhoden’s Lament, Desmond Richardson’s one appearance, featured Mr. Richardson in silhouetted profile, an excellent lighting technique. His vigorous physique enhanced the image of internalized angst, and I found this one of his most interesting performances to date, gripping, not gyrating. Nikolay Tsiskaridze danced the final solo of tonight’s Opening Night program, Fallen Angel, choreographed by Boris Eifman, never one to bore. Mr. Tsiskaridze, in dazzling makeup and material, was far too entertaining, but never forgetful, as he drove himself around the stage in angst-filled delirium. Very very Eifman.
The final Act II ballet (For 4 was the Act I feature, after the film), “Morel et Saint-Loup”, to a Fauré score, choreographed by Roland Petit and performed by Guillaume Coté and Marcelo Gomes, depicted two lovers in nude unitards, their arms looped about each other, one stepping over the back of the other, then one held up in the lover-dancer’s embracing arms. There was chemistry, expressiveness, and fluency of motion. Roland Petit designed this stunning work, and it’s definitely worth re-visiting. Remanso, choreographed by Nacho Duato, is a joyful, playful dance for a trio, this time for Mr. Hallberg, Mr. Cote, and Mr. Gomes. There’s a red rose, fingers and hands and face peeking from a screen, flirtation, frolic, and fun. Only a bravura trio like these three astounding dancers could keep the momentum so spellbinding.
The Grand Finale had all eight Kings in choreographic splendor, spinning, leaping, jumping, and grandstanding, for all to applaud and appreciate. Kudos to Sergei Danilian, and kudos to the eight Kings of the Dance.
Nikolay Tsiskaridze in
Boris Eifman's "Fallen Angel"
Courtesy of Gene Schiavone
Guillaume Cote and Marcelo Gomes
in Roland Petit's
"Morel et Saint-Loup"
Courtesy of Gene Schiavone
David Hallberg in
Nacho Duato's "Remanso"
Courtesy of Gene Schiavone