Jun 132013

Sylvie Guillem after SteptextVari­ous off-stage dra­mas lead up to ’s par­ti­cip­a­tion in MaggioDanza’s Great Cho­reo­graph­ers pro­gramme. The second per­form­ance became the première after strike action can­celled Monday’s per­form­ance. Worth the wait? You bet!

Guillem danced in ’s Step­text, with pointe shoes and a bright red leo­tard. Nowhere to hide, with ver­tical and lat­eral light­ing reveal­ing every bone and muscle move­ment. Yes, her legs still travel effort­lessly up to her ears, but Guillem’s dan­cing was always about so much more than that. The fam­ous 6 o’clock pos­i­tion was nat­ural for her, like her imp­ish grin and beau­ti­ful feet. It was never a gym­nastic pos­i­tion which is impress­ive… but so what? It is one of her many tools of expression.

Guillem doesn’t throw her leg up, but moves it up; it is motion that is judged and con­trolled. She moves her legs rather like an opera singer passes from note to note, with a porta­mento that var­ies from aria to aria depend­ing on the con­text and mood. Guillem uses her body’s stun­ning cap­ab­il­it­ies to con­vey some­thing, not to wow the audi­ence by the mech­an­ics of what it can do.

She is now 48, but noth­ing was less than it should have been. Three  first-class boys from the Mag­gi­oDanza com­pany were with her, but Guillem comes from a dif­fer­ent planet. In an even­ing plagued with tech­nical prob­lems (includ­ing an awful audio mis­hap at the begin­ning of ’s Sechs Tänze, caused by the same sound tech­ni­cians who were respons­able for the can­cel­la­tion of the first night!), Guillem’s excel­lence shone like a beacon.

Sylvie Guillem after Steptext MaggioDanza

  6 Responses to “Sylvie Guillem shines in Forsythe’s Steptext in Florence”

  1. This was an extraordin­ary even­ing in every sense of the word. Though not an abso­lute adorer of Bal­anchine (I recog­nize his immense tal­ent) “The four tem­pera­ments” is without doubt one of the great choreao­graph­ies of the XXth cen­tury in its com­plex­ity, strange beauty and rigor. I also loved Kyllian’s more the­at­rical, humor­ous, light and yet deep “Sechs Tânze”. As for Foni­ada­kis’ “Les noces”, although the “least sat­is­fy­ing” piece of the even­ing, it was still qual­ity work and this cri­ti­cism has more to do with the inev­it­able com­par­ison with the other giants of the even­ing (Guillem, For­sythe, Kyl­lian) than with Foni­ada­kis unques­tion­able tal­ent.
    As for “Step­text” what to say more? The piece in itself a great cho­reo­grafy full of intel­li­gence, sens­it­iv­ity with great demands from the dan­cers who respon­ded to the chal­lenge tri­umphantly. Sylvie is in a cat­egory apart, one has no words to describe the genius, the intel­li­gence, the beauty she radi­ates on stage. As you have so rightly under­lined she just not lift her legs up, she moves them we see the move­ment, fol­low the trans­itions of her ges­tures, we feel, the vari­ations of tempo and she executes each step with incom­par­able and nat­ural skill, move­ment just flows nat­ur­ally and beau­ti­fully. And she has that rare gift to impose her­self on stage, one senses a mys­tery in her pres­ence in her move­ments. She is fully there, she give her­self totally and without con­ces­sions to her dan­cing and the audi­ence, yet we feel that mys­tery. As in all great works of art, one can fully feel their beauty with awe, yet the mys­tery of the cre­ation remains intact. One thinks of her incom­par­able Manon at La Scala, now “Step­text”, the extraordin­ary diversity of her rep­er­tory allow­ing her not just to inter­pret but to live fully to recre­ate the soul and philo­sophy of Mac­Mil­lan, For­sythe or Mats Ek and add her own inim­it­able touch of cre­ativ­ity.
    What a shame indeed that somme irre­spons­ible mem­bers of the Mag­gi­oDanza Com­pagny tried to spoil this moment with their irre­spons­ible sbe­ha­viour (strikes, luck of pub­li­city for such an extraordin­ary event).

  2. Nakis, you are always so gen­er­ous in writ­ing such long and detailed com­ments: we thank you!

  3. Hello

    It is always a pleas­ure to share these impres­sions with you and other bal­let fans here.
    By the way, Sylvie Guillem in addi­tion to her offi­cial web page, has now also an offi­cial Face­book page:

    • Thanks for the inform­a­tion — you’re so informed! I’ll put the word out about the FB page.

      • Thank you.

        Well, Sylvie is my ulti­mate ideal for dance, I have never seen any­one who made such a strong impres­sion on me. She is in Moscou now for “6000 miles away” at the Mos­sovet Theatre for the Chek­hov Inter­na­tional Fet­sival and there they added two extra per­form­ances! I guess this could teach a les­son or two to the Mag­gio Fiorentino for fail­ing to grasp the enorm­ous luck they had when Sylvie accep­ted to do “Step­text” for them; My next show with her will be “Sac­red Mon­sters” at the Theéâtre des Champs Elysées in Paris which runs from June 28th to June 30th;

        • “they added two extra per­form­ances! I guess this could teach a les­son or two to the Mag­gio Fiorentino for fail­ing to grasp the enorm­ous luck they had when Sylvie accep­ted to do “Step­text”” — exactly!

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