A couple of weekends ago Festival Ballet Providence put on a great show, all works of Viktor Plotnikov. He choreographed three very different ballet pieces in his narrative style, all highly enjoyable but I am partial to Orchis. I hope you will forgive my bias!
Here are some photographs with my synopses from all three performances. I photographed them during the dress rehearsal, but they still show the intensity of a live performance. I suggest you catch the live performance next time it is on stage, you will be glad you did.
The first piece, Surrender, was very dramatic with a good blend of dance and theatrical acting. Dancers rose to the occasion and delivered an emotional performance. The piece moved from finding love, to betrayal, to infidelity, soul cleansing and helping others cleanse their souls. In the end they seemed to Surrender to love and life. The idea of using long pieces of cloth as a river in which the dancer Vilia Putrius washed her troubles, and possibly the sins of her lover Mindaugas Bauzys (her real-life husband).
The second piece was more like a dream-world where the conductor Madame Cacaphoné (my name for her) tried very hard to keep her orchestra behaving and performing. The dancers seemed to do double duty as musicians and musical instruments. In this fast-moving dream, set to Paganini’s Violin Concerto No: 1, the alter ego of Paganini seemed to make an appearance. In his time many speculated that he had sold his soul to the Devil to play the violin like no other. The character in red costume periodically appeared on stage to throw a monkey-wrench into the musical performance that conductor Cacaphoné was trying to materialize. This part may be a little stretch of my imagination, but as a friend commented on the Paganini-Devil link, it was almost unavoidable. I don’t think I can listen to the Paganini concerto again without seeing the crazy bunch on stage!
The last piece was Orchis, the repeat performance of last year’s success. This year the lighting was stronger and better. It was closer to the idea we once discussed, shine different colored lights briefly on gray costumes. The group of dancers was almost the same from last year. Curtain rose as Ilya Burow slowly walked the length of the stage and saluted Orchis, striking a pose in response to the giant orchid on the screen, one arm raised with a flair and the other bowed down. Following that a fast moving solo displayed his dancing and athletic capabilities. There was no dancer on stage that did not look and feel significant, a tribute to Viktor’s ability to blend the moves very integrally. The pas de deux by Ruth Whitney and Alex Lanz and the one by Vilia Putrius and Mindaugas Bauzys were both mesmerizing. All the other dancers, Kirsten Evans, Elizabeth Mochizuki, Louisa Chapman, Eugenia Zinovieva, Tegan Rich, Harunaga Yamakawa, and of course, the giant walking orchid Dylan Giles were all fabulous. The original score was as moving and the performance was still an “experience“.