Magazine article Pointe

Tokyo Ballet Brings Béjart to Berlin

Magazine article Pointe

Tokyo Ballet Brings Béjart to Berlin

Article excerpt

Tokyo Ballet Brings Béjart To Berlin

Berlin audiences are familiar with world-renowned choreographer Maurice Béjart and with certain dancers from the Tokyo Ballet who have guested here. However, never have they seen the two combined as perfectly as they were in May, during a Béjart evening at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden.

The Tokyo Ballet came to Berlin as part of the First International Dance Summit, hosted by Staatsballett Berlin. The Béjart evening closed the week with two breathtaking and memorable performances. Béjart is credited as the artistic consultant of the Tokyo Ballet; several of his ballets have received premières in Japan. Many of his works embrace the power of the corps de ballet, using multiple dancers onstage at once to create a visually captivating spectacle.

Danses Grecques opened with the sound of ocean waves breaking softly. Close to 60 dancers wearing simple black-and-white costumes were scattered at different angles against a sky-blue backdrop. As music by Mikis Theodorakis began, muscular and handsome Masaki Oshima emerged as a soloist, dancing with ease, joy and extraordinary buoyancy. A series of male and female duets followed. Then, seven women in black leotards dazzled in a short, yet dynamic variation consisting of double fouettés and pirouettes on pointe. The finale brought the entire ensemble onstage again for a reprise of the opening scene.

The Firebird, with music by Igor Stravinsky, was not as thrilling, perhaps because of the smaller cast. In Béjart's altered scenario, Kazuo Kimura was a Firebird with zeal and passion, but he lacked the fluidity and freedom that the role requires. …

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