Les 4 Saisons

ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre, Auckland

14/03/2007 - 18/03/2007

Auckland Festival 2007

Production Details

CHOREOGRAPHY BY Angelin Preljocaj
MUSIC BY Antonio Vivaldi, The Four Seasons

Ballet Preljocaj

For the first time in New Zealand, Auckland Festival, AK07 presents one of Europe’s groundbreaking and internationally respected choreographers, Angelin Preljocaj, and his resolutely contemporary dance company, Ballet Preljocaj.

Ballet Preljocaj presents its latest work performed to the music of Vivaldi’s revered opus, The Four Seasons, of which Preljocaj poses these questions: “Can this piece of music – so well known, so conventional, so gone astray – can it indeed still deliver more surprises, more grey zones, more secrets? Can we erase the tainted image of this music? This music that is so sensually meteorological? And how?” he asks.

His answer is best read in his inspired choreography – or, as he replies: “By coming back again and again to the writing of the movement and never letting go of the bursting forth, exaltation, suspension and vibration.”

he skill and beauty of the dancers’ craft will delight and astound audiences, leaving one and all in awe of what the body is capable of.

Since the founding of his company, now composed of 22 dancers, in 1984 Angelin Preljocaj has created 20 or more choreographies, seven of which are currently on the Ballet’s repertoire, ranging from duos to a score of 12 or more dancers.

Resolutely contemporary, with an emphasis on creation, Preljocaj is famed for his abstract, risky musical talent. Preljocaj has traced his own singular and original path and is now one of Europe’s most well respected choreographers, both at home and abroad.

A devoted partner since 1990, the Paribas Foundation supports the creations of Angelin Preljocaj and his Ballet tours.

Dance ,

Sensuous, delicate, witty

Review by Felicity Molloy 15th Mar 2007

Festivals are a little like taking vitamins to me, there is something about them which deems them unnecessary but really they are a major boost for depleted systems. It’s difficult to watch new New Zealand work opening in a surround of tried and true international offerings where inevitably comparisons get made, though I have to say so far only in production values and performer comfort areas. If only our arts support systems were able to meet the levels of obvious ongoing providence that a company like Ballet Preljocaj has.

Contemporary dance is a collaborative art form and Les 4 Saisons is a lovely meld of artists work. Vivaldi’s music is so familiar and it is restful and delightful to watch the work from this base. The choreographer, Preljocaj, clearly takes his artistic voice into all areas with "chadsgrapher" and costumier, Hyber, lighting designer, Riou and the dancers meeting his portrayal of what is essentially a dance work, interpreting music. The lighting is particularly exquisite.

Strangely the pieces hanging from the fly tower, dangling and dropping when needed, reminded me of another recent AK07 production – Dark Tourist – actually so did the work itself, though a lighter version. As in other works, the shift from dance abstract to dance drama is sometimes clunky, in this work, stopping the music becomes the main device for scene change. These silences do work though as a metaphor to highlight the progression through the four seasons’ more ancient transitional passage.

The programme lists dancers’ names without photos so I cannot identify individuals. As a company they are easy in their skins, refined athletic bodies and expressively secure. The most memorable section for me is of the dancers in white lying sensuously moving on the floor towards the end, an ultimately satisfying merge of music, rhythm, movement and dancer bodies. Otherwise delicate caricaturing, witty humour, a very funny humping the caterpillar moment and very elegant dancing provide textures and subtler meanings for each composition of choreographic movement. 

Of particular note are the ways the dancers sit within their individual technical styles easily; ensemble work, a feast to watch. Thanks Ballet Preljocaj for coming here, for being in our midst for a little while, for sharing your work and for reminding us about the merits of the work that happens here.


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