Wednesday, April 14, 2010

REVIEW: The Ballet, A Sue Jin Kang Gala

The program was varied and it brought out the best from the dancers.

Ballerina Sue Jin Kang in "The Lady of Camellias" photo courtesy of Credia


The Ballet was on for three nights at the Opera Theatre of the Seoul Art Centre in South Korea from April 9 to 11. I went to the opening night and I am glad I did. The star of the evening was the Korean ballerina Sue Jin Kang, a principal dancer at the Stuttgart Ballet. In 1985, she won the Prix de Lausanne and became a member of the Stuttgart Ballet the following year. She was then appointed Soloist in 1994 and Pricipal Dancer in 1997. At the age of 43, she is in great form.

Joining Ms. Kang were some equally good dancers like Marijn Rademaker (Dutch Principal Dancer at the Stuttgart Ballet), Jason Reilly (Canadian Principal Dancer at the Stuttgart Ballet), Ivan Cavallari (Artistic Director at the West Australian Ballet), and some dancers from the West Australian Ballet.

The program was a mixture of classical ballet, modern dance and predominantly modern ballet. The solos and the pas de deux were definitely the highlights. In the first half, Affi choreographed by Marco Goeke and performed by Marijn Rademaker to the music of Johnny Cash was stunning. It was a piece charaterized with a lot of body contortions that resonates the angsts, confusions and momentary elations in Cash's songs. Vapour Plains, choreographed by Evan Mckie and performed by Sue Jin Kang and Jason Reilly closed the first half. This pas de deux was a challenge on sustained lifts as Ms. Kang almost never fully touch the floor until the vey end. The partnership and trust between Ms. Kang and Mr. Reilly were most admirable as the movements were executed with precise and sustained line and fluidity.




The highlights in the second half were Ballet 101 and The Lady of Camellias excerpts. The Ballet 101, choreographed by Eric Gauthier and performed by Jason Reilly, was a demostration of all the different positions in ballet. This was by a voiceover and demonstrated by Mr. Reilly. This, then slowly progressed into a dance by command "test" until Mr. Reilly was dancing so fast that he exploded into pieces. Mr. Reilly did a fantastic job in showing off his technical prowess while keeping the whole piece light and funny.

Before an excerpt of The Lady of Camellias was performed, there was a thoroughly unnecessary long piano performance from Ji Yong. While he was playing, a video of Sue Jin Kang performing The Lady of Camellias was shown in the background. The whole sequence looked like a memorial and I was kind of waiting for somebody to come on stage to announce that Ms. Kang had suddenly died! The subsequent performance of Sue Jin Kang and Marijn Rademaker though was a fine example of sustained elegance combined with palpable emotional death... I mean depth.



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