I thought of Fonteyn when I went to La Scala in Milan the other week to see Sylvie Guillem dance in Manon. It was quite an event. Guillem is 46 next week and hasn't danced Manon for six years. Indeed, since 2007 she has become better known for an exhilarating contemporary career, which has pushed her into new directions in the company of collaborators such as Akram Khan, Russell Maliphant and Robert Lepage, than for embodying one of ballet's great tragic heroines.
She sums up,
Yet Guillem's power doesn't arise from acting a part or even from her superlative technique: when she is on stage, thought and movement become indivisible, so the unfolding of a leg, the raising of a despairing arm are the language she is speaking. In her dying throes, her desolation and terror reduced people to tears.
People often ask me why I love ballet, which seems to them a closed and secret art – and I point back to that first Swan Lake, to those rare nights when the stage suddenly shimmers with communicative power, transporting you to a place where thinking and emotion find a physical realisation.
It is something beyond technique, beyond skill, even beyond intelligence; a moment when a kind of alchemical transmutation takes place, turning a ballerina into a swan, a woman into a dying courtesan, and leaving burnished in the air a golden image of transformation. Guillem's Manon was such a night, one to remember.
read the whole article via When the real power of dance is revealed – Telegraph
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.