20 May 2013

Sylvie Guillem's 6000 Miles Away at Sadler's Wells (amazing)

I was extremely fortunate to see Sylvie Guillem dance a few times at the Royal Opera House around twenty five years ago when I was rich, i.e. childless. Then I went to the Royal Ballet fairly regularly, and the English National Ballet too.

She is now 48 years old and still dances beautifully and surprisingly energetically.

For me it was always the arms. Other people's arms move like they have muscles and bones in that restrict the fluidity of movement but Sylvie's arms just glide smoothly from one pose to the next, even when that pose is angular and exaggerated. Her arms still move like that and it is spellbinding to watch.

Last time I saw Sylvie dance at Sadler's Wells it was a part role in one piece in a programme of mixed works, and I expected something similar this time, and would have been very happy with that.There were three pieces and Sylvie danced in two of them, one as half of a duet and the other on her own.

The first two pieces were aggressively modern and the old ladies behind me did not like the discordant music one bit. I did though and I liked the energetic dancing that went with it. In the second piece, with Sylvie dancing, the mood of the relationship between the two dancers changed as they played off each other with passion and violence.

Then came the short break followed by what the evening was all about, Sylvie dancing solo to a piece by Mats Ek (a star) set to a very approachable Beethoven piano sonata. It was beautiful.

Ek pushed Syvlie in to some unusual positions making good use of her famous flexibility, but even standing on her head with her legs at odd angles she looked, and was, totally in control, elegant and poetic.

I would gladly have sat there and watched it all over again.

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