Wayne McGregor: "Chroma"
José Limon: Excerpt of "The Unsung"
Nikolaj Hübbe & Eva Draw: Excerpt of "La Bayadére"
The first cast of "Chroma" has so far been the only cast. We are finally getting a second cast but the first have so dominated the ballet that it is difficult to make mental room for other interpretations. In "The Unsung" several solos are surprisingly unsonged as the work is cut to make the Dance2Go a faster and smother program.
At last in the end of the second run 10 dancers are now ready to show their interpretation of the McGregor ballet, and it was a strange experience, mainly because the first cast have had sole proprietorship for so long. One is so used to the opening duo of small Lena Maria Gruber and big Christopher Dean that the light duo of Stefanie Sahlgren and Marcin Kupiñsky seems wrong simply because the balance in the pair is different. It is easier to accept Stephanie Chen Gundorph and Johanthan Chmelensky taking over from Hilary Guswiler and Alexander Stæger as they are of an equal stature. In reality all four did well, if slightly more understated than the first cast.
The second casts consists of very good dancers but they are in general more mainstream types and neither Caroline Baldwin or Alba Nadal, who both are first row dancers in "La Bayadére" have the edge and aggression needed for "Chroma" . The greatest surprise come from Benjamin Buza doing the same role as Alban Lendorf. In here and in "The Unsung" he shows his suitability for the modern repertoire.
That opportunity was unfortunately snatched from two of his colleagues as "The Unsung" has been cut with two solos to makes the programme shorter. The Dance2Go programme is created as an affordable offer for non-ballet goers to get a taste of the real thing and hopefully grow into frequent attendees.
There has been a few comment on the internet about "The Unsung" being too long and boring. There are also passages in works like "Swan Lake" that deserves the same accolade, without anyone demanding a cut. I think that the decision to cut is wrong, not only in reverence to the choreographer and dancers, but if part of the audience's response to ballet is that they want less rather than more, maybe this is not the segment the management should try hardest to please. Earlier this season "Sleeping Beauty" was cut to make it more family oriented. Can we we please drop the dogma that given less quality will appeal to more audience?
It is legitimate to want more bums in seats, but not any bum at any cost. Dance2Go is an outstretched hand to ballet debutantes to get a taster. It must also be accepted that some people cannot be won over. Instead of lowering the barre simply accept the fact and keep the content and quality high. With approx 20 performances less annually following the cuts, there will be more than 15000 seats less to fill. Use that silver lining in stead of self-bullying into lower standards.
It has been said that if you do not get "La Bajadére" act 3 you will never understand nor like ballet. Yesterdays performance show a even stronger and pefectly serene Nikitya from Hilary Guswiler, an improved Ulrik Birkkjær and a brilliant trio of shades from Alexandra Lo Sordo, Femke Mølbak Sloth and Lena-Maria Gruber. Hopefully nobody will make a cut here.