Beyond the limits of gravity – Mourad Merzouki’s ‘Vertikal’ with Käfig review

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‘Photograph: Laurent Philippe

In his new production ‘Vertikal’, top French choreographer Mourad Merzouki yet again defies all expectations – he pushes past another set of boundaries and explores a whole new dimension: a world (almost) without gravity. The show is a collaboration with vertical dance company Retouramont, who provided the dancers with rope mechanisms, allowing them to achieve apparent weightlessness. Continue reading

From the best of European ballet to Benjamin Millepied’s L.A. Dance Project – an interview with Axel Ibot and Patricia Zhou

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L.A. Dance Project in Justin Peck’s ‘Murder Ballads’. Photograph: Rose Eichenbaum

American Patricia Zhou and Axel Ibot, who is French, both have very classical backgrounds. The former has danced with the Royal Ballet and the Staatsballett-Berlin, and the latter was “Sujet” in the Paris Opera Ballet before he left to join Benjamin Millepied – French choreographer, ex-director of the Paris Opera Ballet, and founder of the L.A. Dance Project – in Los Angeles.

I wondered what edged them both towards this new beginning in a smaller-sized contemporary company. Continue reading

An evening with Ailey II ~ watching the company class/show review

Ailey II's Christopher R. Wilson and Jacoby Pruitt in Jae Man Joo's Circular. Photo by Kyle Froman_1292
Ailey II’s Christopher R. Wilson and Jacoby Pruitt in Jae Man Joo’s Circular. Photo by Kyle Froman

Alvin Ailey is, I think we can fairly say, one of the most renowned dance institutions in the world. The choreographer, dancer and cultural leader Alvin Ailey founded the prestigious Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1958. Sixteen years later, the second company, Ailey II, was created and is now made up of twelve young and ambitious dancers, bursting with energy, talent and promise.

Before the performance, I watched their class led by artistic director Troy Powell – it was quite an experience. Continue reading

‘Solstice’ by Blanca Li ~ review

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‘Solstice’ – copyright Nico Bustos

After successfully portraying the world of artificial intelligence in her 2013 creation ‘Robot’, Blanca Li continues logically on to exploring nature, and its relation with humans, in her new and exciting piece ‘Solstice’.

The curtain opens, and it’s back to the very beginnings of humanity – the rhythm and the movement is primitive, tribal, the basic, nude costumes (designed by Laurent Mercier) accentuate the rawness. Continue reading

Ballet du Capitole ~ The dancers

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Ballet du Capitole in ‘Giselle’ – copyright David Herrero

During my work experience at the Ballet, a few of the dancers very kindly answered some questions for me:

The answer to my first question “Why did you choose the Ballet du Capitole?” was always pretty much the same: it’s a smaller ballet company with a very interesting and varied repertoire (a good mix of classical, neo-classical and contemporary); some of the dancers just wanted to try something new. They all love dancing here, and say there is a very good atmosphere.

I asked them whether they usually work more with the ballet masters or the choreographer. Continue reading

An interview with Nathan Makolandra from L.A. Dance Project

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Nathan Makolandra – copyright Morgan Lugo

After the show, I had the chance to interview Nathan Makolandra, who has been dancing with the L.A. Dance Project since it began in 2012.

I asked him how he got into the company. “I was a senior at Juilliard, and Benjamin [Millepied] had done some work with seniors the previous year”, he told me. “He was going to be starting this [LADP] company, so he called the director and said he’d like to come and look at the current batch of seniors. After auditions at Juilliard, he asked me to join what would be the L.A. Dance Project. It’s been over four years now, and it’s been cazy!” Continue reading

Benjamin Millepied’s L.A. Dance Project ~ review

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‘Reflections’ – copyright Rose Eichenbaum

Earlier this week, I went to see Benjamin Millepied’s L.A. Dance Project perform four pieces from their repertoire (Reflections by Benjamin Millepied; Duets by Martha Graham; Helix by Justin Peck; and Hearts and Arrows by Benjamin Millepied).

They were all incredibly different, each had, I thought, its own particular meaning. Continue reading