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An evening of world-class artistry

BalletX dazzled its Bermuda audience last week.

The unique beauty, discipline and originality of the talented group of young artists was all on display at the Earl Cameron Theatre on Friday night.

First up was Gran Partita, choreographed by Jorma Elo and danced by the whole company as part of the Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts.

It consisted of five very disparate pieces of classical music, ranging from the 16th to the 20th centuries, with each given a particular dance mood and interpretation, often intriguingly at odds with our expectations or indeed with the apparent message in the music.

The Alban Berg allegro, from his aggressively modern 1925 Lyric Suite, was given a classical ballet interpretation, whereas Mozart's Serenade No 10 in B Flat was danced in a jerky, violent manner suggesting civil disturbance and authoritarian repression.

The Monteverdi aria from his 1620 opera The Coronation of Poppea apparently showed the triumph of cynical autocratic power; Poppea was the murderous wife of the Emperor Nero.

It was danced as a poignant pas de deux embellished by using the interleaved arms and torsos of the dancers to create their own spaces.

Bach's Violin Sonata No 3 in C Major, and pieces from his Clavierbuchlein, veered between high-energy thrusts, claps and holds among the dancers — sometimes reminiscent of wrestling — and ended with another pas de deux full of lyrical and erotic yearning.

On the Mysterious Properties of Light, choreographed by R. Colby Damon, was a profound essay on the quantum properties of light.

It was also, by extension, on our place in creation and in the cosmos, combining dance, lecture, lights, shadows and mystical musical underpinnings which reinforced the sheer unknowableness of the subject.

According to the chorographer's note: “This piece draws inspiration from the mundane yet miraculous qualities of light at a quantum level as well as from those noblest aspects of the human spirit.”

The high point of the piece, for me, was the quite beautiful dance of two quantum entangled pairs of photons demonstrating Einstein's “spooky action at a distance” whereby all laws of physics are apparently violated.

The music for this dance included hypnotic Mongolian throat singing, an extended Úd passage and modern French composer Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch's Scale of Volatility, a fascinating encounter in time travel.

Schachmatt, choreographed by Cayetono Soto, completed the evening.

The company was dressed in an androgynous uniform of grey shorts, shirts and ties, black jockey hats and boots.

The music was a mix of French, Italian and Latin American from the mid-20th century, including Rina Ketty's Second World War iconic hit J'attendrai danced in a way that can be described only as cabaret with sex.

The tango pieces by Jack Constanzo and Mona Bell became intensely erotic, and explicitly so, ending with Lo Dudo by the Mexican group Los Panchos.

A marvellous evening of world-class artistry brought to us by our own Bermuda Festival.

Schachmatt, choreographed by Cayetano Soto, completed BalletX's Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts' show on Friday night (Photograph by Bill Hebert)

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Published February 14, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated February 14, 2018 at 7:59 am)

An evening of world-class artistry

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