His two-act comedy ballet “The Bright Stream,” new with the Bolshoi in 2003 and danced by that company at the Metropolitan Opera House in 2005, joined Ballet Theater's repertory this January and is being danced at the Met through Wednesday. Though it's neither as poetic nor as accomplished as works he has created in the last five years, it's the most sheerly entertaining of his ballets. It shows why it put him on the map internationally. He gets the Metropolitan audience gurgling with laughter, and he wins applause for every level of Ballet Theater. – New York Times
In the 2003 remake that landed him the top post at the Bolshoi – the original libretto survived but he had to reinvent the steps – Alexei Ratmansky has translated Shostakovich's sardonic jubilation over the forward march of Soviet farmers into a parade of irrepressible eccentricity. When the Bolshoi brought the ballet here in 2005, it seemed full of funny notions. This time, the comedy hit in the gut. On opening night (the ballet plays until tonight in New York and resurfaces in Los Angeles come July), waves of laughter rolled through the house. – The Financial Times
As an acquaintance said on the way out of the Metropolitan Opera House last night (June 9): “how wonderful it is to see people having fun at the ballet—onstage and off.” He could not more perfectly have captured what I was feeling at that moment, along with, I suspect, hundreds of other people in the theatre after seeing American Ballet Theatre's first New York performance of Alexei Ratmansky's “The Bright Stream.” For two hours, I (and many others) had been reduced to a state of child-like delight which seemed to spill over to the dancers onstage, though, it must be said, they were working much, much harder. Even so, I think I can safely say that I have never seen the dancers at American Ballet Theatre perform with such a sense of happiness and presence in the moment, and I'm not just talking about the stars. The entire company, from character dancers to the rank and file of the corps de ballet seemed giddy with the joy of artistic expression, not to mention the challenge of Ratmansky's choreography, which is, I assure you no small thing. – The Faster Times
Photo: David Hallberg in Ratmansky's The Bright Stream, by Rosalie O'Connor
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.