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The Joyce Theater Foundation presents Ballet Preljocaj in Angelin Preljocaj’s “Blanche Neige” (Snow White) April 12-17, 2014 at the David H. Koch Theater….

May 8, 2014

blanche_neige_6 by Jean-Claude Carbonne-001

There has been a radical shift in ballet, a change of attitude, where nothing is sacrosanct. Gone are the days when the great White Ballets…Swan Lake, Giselle, Sleeping Beauty… were just that…ballets with the ballerina in white tutus and the men standing behind them as the handsome and charming prince.

Today, those great White Ballets have been envisioned, reinterpreted, updated for an era where free time is spent either in front of the television, or on-line searching the web, or as is the case at my house, usually both…

Matt Ek created his essentially non-romantic vision of Giselle, perhaps the most romantic of the romantic ballets, Christopher-Jean Maillot’s LAC (after Swan Lake) is a highly stylized Swan Lake full of intrigue, fashion and rewriting of several of the key characters…

Ballet Preljocaj in Angelin Preljocaj’s “Blanche Neige” (Snow White). Photo:  Jean-Claude Carbonne

Ballet Preljocaj in Angelin Preljocaj’s “Blanche Neige” (Snow White). Photo: Jean-Claude Carbonne

Even the tales of Lewis Carroll and the Brothers Grimm have been dusted off and made current, such as Christopher Wheeldon’s tongue-in-cheek and brilliantly humorous Alice in Wonderland and Liam Scarlett’s dark, adult-take on Hansel and Gretel.

Now, Angelin Preljocaj (pronounced prel-zho-kahj) has joined this merry band of minstrels with his Snow White. He also brought along Jean-Paul Gaultier for costumes and Thierry Leproust for the sets, along with the 24 dancers of his Ballet Preljocaj at the David H. Koch Theater, April 23-27, 2014.

Mr. Preljocaj’s Snow White is complete with wicked step-mother, a mirror, mirror on the wall, poison apple, dwarfs and a handsome prince. In the program notes Mr. Preljocaj refers to the ballet as an Oedipus in reverse and the story unfolds though the use of different Mahler scores that are mixed with electronic music by 79D.

Snow White’s mother is seen pregnant, then we see an infant Snow White, then adolescent and finally as a young woman wearing a rather scandalous costume of white fabric that is gathered at the neck and waist but leaves the sides of her body exposed, very Martha Graham in her Greek period. Some have said the color white is to suggest Snow White’s purity, her virginity, her innocence…perhaps so, but I mean, she’s Snow White…what was Gaultier supposed to dress her in, an Orange is New Black jumper…..

Nagisa Shirai portrayed Snow White as a young woman who is venerable but also more than willing to seduce The Prince, Sergio Diaz…not really a surprise for it seem they had been making moon-eyes at each other since childhood

Anna Tatarova, clothed in a floor length black coat, deliciously lined in red and complete with thigh-high boots with a stiletto heel, how else would a  ruthless step-mother – slash – Queen dress…she would convincingly portray the caring mother figure, all worry and concern for her dear little step-daughter, then vile and evil to Snow White when everyone’s back was turned…

Ballet Preljocaj in Angelin Preljocaj’s “Blanche Neige” (Snow White). Photo:  Jean-Claude Carbonne

Ballet Preljocaj in Angelin Preljocaj’s “Blanche Neige” (Snow White). Photo: Jean-Claude Carbonne

Poor Snow White was not feed a poison apple but a poison apple was rammed/shoved/stuffed down her throat by Ms. Tatarova. Ms. Tatarova was not taking any chances.

The best scene in the whole production is when the dwarves …how can you have Snow White without dwarves….. Thierry Leproust had brilliantly transformed the back wall into a mountainside complete with caves…the dwarves timidly stuck their heads out, there are anywhere from 6 to 12 feet from the stage floor and then begin to climb down the wall with the use of a clever suspension cabling device. The dwarves, all men of small stature who were the perfect size for dwarves, walked down the side of the wall then back up it, they would jump and spin. Some going up, some going down, then running back up the wall, turn around and run back down. I must say it, it was sheer genuis.

Angelin Preljocaj’s Snow White, performed by Ballet Preljocaj was perhaps one of the best performances I have seen this year….I think the Joyce Foundation for having the foresight to bring such a brave and innovated work to New York City…





From → Ballet, Dance

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