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WILLIAM FORSYTHE RETURNS TO PARIS

 

By Patricia Boccadoro

PARIS, 5 April 2006—The exciting Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, a ballet created in 1996 for William Forsythe's Frankfurt troupe and first danced by the Paris OpĂ©ra Ballet three years later, was re-programmed at the Palais Garnier alongside Approximate Sonata and Artifact Suite , two Forsythe works new to the Paris repertoire.

In Approximate Sonata, set to a score by Thom Willems, four couples came, one after the other, on to a bare sober stage set following a gum-chewing solitary dancer, JĂ©rĂ©mie Belingard, who had arrived some five minutes earlier to warm up.  The dance, academic with a few pirouettes here and there, was pointless. The only interest of the piece, twenty-five minutes of it, was the opportunity to see the charismatic Marie-Agnès Gillot (partnered by HervĂ© Moreau) who came on as the fourth couple and livened things up. Gillot is every choreographer's dream, an artist who can hold the attention of her audience no matter what she dances.

In contrast, The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, set to Franz Schubert's Allegro Vivace from his Symphony N° 9 in C Major, one of Forsythe's more conventional choreographies, and one which has always been well-danced in Paris, was a joy to watch. It is a rapid, dynamic work for two men and three women and is full of energy and vitality, and although all five dancers were excellent, it was Emilie Cozette, with her natural grace and charm, who carried the ballet. Nothing was any effort to her; nothing seemed awkward or difficult as she playfully brought the work to life.  


Emilie Cosette in Vertiginous Thrill
Chorégraphie : William Forsythe
Photo: SĂ©bastien MathĂ©

The last work on the program was Artifact Suite, a new version of  Forsythe's 1984 work, created for his own company, for thirty-five dancers.  The first part, set to Bach's D Minor Chaconne, would have been magnificent if only he hadn't had the curtain crashing down every few minutes while the dancers repositioned themselves. Changes and contrasts, yes.... interruptions of this kind, not really. Such was the choreography and such was the quality of the interpretation that it was irritating to sit fidgeting in the darkness waiting for the ballet to take off again.

All the dancers can be praised. However, Dorothée Gilbert, partnered by Mathieu Ganio, was outstanding. Although small and slight, she possesses the technique and personality to dance Forsythe and gave a new dimension to the choreography.


Dorothé Gilbert and Mathieu Ganio in Artifact Suite
Chorégraphie : William Forsythe
Photo: SĂ©bastien MathĂ©

The second part of the ballet which brought the corps de ballet to the fore was accompanied by a piano score by Eva Crossman-Hecht , specially commissioned for the work, and was beautifully played by Margot Kazimirska. All the company were remarkable in the demanding, rhythmic choreography, and the port de bras were of great beauty. A spectacular end to the evening.

 

Patricia Boccadoro writes on dance in Europe and is the dance editor for Culturekiosque.com.



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