This wonderful but exasperating documentary film celebrating the art of Rudolf Nureyev almost succeeds both as a work of art in its own right, and as a discussion of the role of dance in mid-twentieth century European history. Although it suffers from too much material and too many ideas for its thematic structure to accommodate, the mode of presentation, which includes the use of dance to embody meaning, is highly original in a documentary format. Magnificent montages of archive film and newly created dance footage overlaid one upon another provide a depth of experience that is sometimes exhausting: watching Russell Maliphant’s choreography, accompanied by Alex Baranowski’s score, while listening to a Russian language interview translated by subtitles is almost overwhelming. (more…)

Advertisements

The artist management agency International Classical Artists has launched an audio and audio-visual label featuring archive material and historic musical performances by the agency’s own artists from around the world since 1953. Of 74 titles released to date under the label ICA Classics Legacy series, the catalogue includes a small collection of historic dance performances filmed in black and white, mainly from the 50s and 60s and featuring great dancers such as Fonteyn, Nureyev, Nadia Nerina, Svetlana Beriosova, Alicia Markova, and Galina Ulanova in classics such as Les Sylphides and Giselle, but also delectable ballets of the period such by John Cranko’s The Lady and the Fool, Ashton’s La Fille mal gardée with original interpreters, and the first act of The Stone Flower.

It has been a real pleasure savouring the particular delights of their Choreography by Bournonville disc, which includes not only a complete performance of La Sylphide recorded by the BBC in 1961, but also a bonus all Danish performance of the Act II pas de deux from 1960, and the Flower Festival in Genzano pas de deux recorded in 1974.  The Ballet Rambert production of La Sylphide was mounted by Elsa-Marianne von Rosen with loving care as to authentic style and dramatic coherence (more…)