It was the last weeks of December and all through Dance St. Louis all creatures were stirring including myself.
The year is coming to an end but for us it is a continued flow as budgets for next year are being presented, programs are being devised, advertising campaigns are being put in place and hope is eternal.
Since arriving back from my trip to Paris, my dance experience has ranged from the ridiculous and upsetting to the divine and praiseworthy.
I ventured out to see The Moscow Ballet Nutcracker that was presented at the Peabody, fortunately for just one show. It was one of the most atrocious productions I have ever seen. It was devoid of any magic, with sets that did not define a time or place and with costumes that seem to have been rented without any sense of style. Its young dancers, presumably Russian, are certainly enjoying being in America but their refinement left much to be desired.
What was more upsetting was the use of close to 70 young kids, all eager and full of stars in their eyes. Like children, they performed with a sense of magic. Too bad they were only there to fill the seats of the theatre with parents and grandparents purchasing tickets regardless. The Nutcracker should be a marvelous experience and the story should flow. The music, which was canned and an insult when the top prices were $85, should make you want to hum and dance. I am sorry, but we work hard to establish an awareness of what is good in dance and this was a step back in the culture of St. Louis.
But, there is always redemption and I flew on a Sunday to Chicago to view Hubbard Street’s last concert where works by Aszure Barton, Armando Cerrudo and Mats Ek were being performed. What joy! What talent! What greatness!
The dancers excelled at every ballet. Their fluidity and stage presence enhanced every movement. They had complete control of every gesture. The audience was spellbound and so was I.
Aszure’s piece was a delight of the senses. It was fluid, imaginative, rich in texture and never disappointing. I could have left the theatre after her work and felt fulfilled.
Cerrudo’s two works seemed to be almost a filler. Though brilliantly danced and each very good as independent works, they somehow did not quite fulfill me.
Mats Ek’s work was another thing. Did I like it? Not sure, but I could certainly not dismiss it. Images, some disturbing, surprisingly appeared from what was some incredibly inventive choreography. A disturbing piece and yet enlightening by the mastery of the art form it chose to convey itself.
No sooner then when the curtain dropped, I was running to the Orange Line to catch my Southwest Flight to St. Louis. Once in town, one more Nutcracker awaited. I was thrilled to see the improvement of the dancers of St. Louis Ballet. Some new scenic elements and ideas were added that improved the production but I still wish it would have been more magical. It lacks being carried out as if through the eyes of a child. Regardless, I felt more compelled by this showing of St. Louis Ballet than I had in years past, great tribute to the dancers Gen Horiuchi has surrounded himself with.
Now I fly Frontier to visit my Daughter, her Partner and my grandchildren. I think another Nutcracker awaits.
So, until next year. Thank you for making this year so memorable and I hope you will join Dance St. Louis on another Magical Mystery Tour of dance.