Magazine article Dance Magazine

Twenty Tours for Lyon

Magazine article Dance Magazine

Twenty Tours for Lyon

Article excerpt

IF YOU catch Yorgos Loukos at home in Jean Nouvel's stunning, glass-encased opera house in the center of France's second largest city, consider yourself very lucky to find him at home. Loukos' frequent flyer miles might underwrite a trip to the moon and back. He's always questing after the next big thing. "Look, I can be in Brussels in two hours," he says. "There are forty-five dance companies there; forty-two may be terrible, but you never know about the other three."

No surprise that the peripatetic, 31-member Lyon Opera Ballet, which the Athens-born ex-dancer has directed since 1991, has become a unique institution with a dazzling repertoire. It tours a substantial sixteen weeks a year and performs only ten weeks annually at home. Amid all the other milestones the dance world is celebrating in 2004, the company's eight-city, tour to the United States this month (the second of the year) will be the organization's twentieth to this country. The visit will herald, too, the twentieth anniversary of director Loukos' arrival in Lyon, where he began as ballet master and assistant to American experimental theater director Robert Wilson.

From the Lyon Opera Ballet, American audiences have come to expect the unexpected--works by the major names as well as discoveries in the European dance field, a healthy diet of leading American choreographers, and dancing which, although classically based, glows with a sharp, contemporary edge. The works that will be presented stateside this month and next--Jiri Kylian's Symphony of Psalms, Un Ballo and Petite Mort; Nacho Duato's Jardi Tancat; William Forsythe's Duo and Second Detail; and Critical Mass, a 1999 duet by rising British choreographer Russell Maliphant--epitomize the company's vaunted, idiosyncratic fare.

The strenuous tour regimen, says Loukos, was born out of necessity. …

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