Ballet for Life
The “Ballet for life” is a great tribute to the celestial music of two geniuses. But mostly – in my opinion – to the ingenuity of Freddy Mercury. I would call it not just a ballet but rather a ballet show. It strikes the eye by expressive Versace costumes, it strikes the ears by immortal and powerful music of Queen, it moves you with high choreography of Béjart – all in one!
And this is just the beginning of the 1,5 hour show.
The more you watch, the more intimate the ballet becomes. There are moments when only the author himself can really understand the meaning of what is happening on stage – the movements don’t tell much to a usual spectator. But at the same time that doesn’t negate the beauty of forms that dancers create by their bodies.
Which is still not just a series of movements. There is a story behind them, a narrative that reveals characters: their souls, personalities and all their complexity. Unlike Balanchin’ s “Jewels”where the form dominates the content, in the “Ballet for Life” there is an overall democracy, not a dictatorship that governs the whole performance.
And of course not to forget the dancer that plays Freddy Mercury – he looks so much like him that you immediately recall the memories of real Freddy singing on stage – with all the craziness and genius that he was endowed with and generously shared with all of us.
I can only add a couple of words: “THANK YOU”, Mr.Béjart for what you gave to us and for your contribution to the eternal memory of the two great people. Source: Feel like dancing
To fans of Queen (there were hundreds on Thursday night) the music features a dream selection of hits, while Julien Favreau as a peroxided, tarted-up Mercury presents an appropriately camp interpretation of their star. The basic theme of the choreography is of youth and hopefulness cocking a snook at death, and its sequence of mildly surreal interludes is clearly designed to mirror the energy and the lyrics of the songs. A crowd of glossily muscled men writhe and boogy to Radio Gaga, a man in Union Jack tights leaps brightly and dandily to Millionaire Waltz, and assorted couples embrace and pose.
The costumes designed by the late Gianni Versace (to whom this ballet is now also a retrospective tribute) make the dancers look wonderful. The chorus are dressed in a sleek variety of sports outfits; the principal men wear blade-thin trousers with fishnet seams, and some of the women get to parade in extravagantly cut and detailed ball gowns. As a group they look fabulous, yet a frustrating proportion of the choreography that Béjart gives them is uninventive and bland. A few split kicks, a few drastic stretches, a little bit of disco filtered through some lame ballet steps. Any halfway decent pop video could produce more intoxicating stuff.
Where the dancing does take off is in the choreography for Gil Roman, who stands for the other artist remembered in the show, Jorge Donn (Béjart's long-time star dancer who, like Mercury, died from Aids). Much of Roman's movement is set to extracts from Mozart - and it's interesting that Béjart finds far more punch and fury in this music than he does in Queen. Certainly Roman dances a charismatic storm - his small, neat body self-flagellating in its energy, yet brilliantly precise in its phrasing and line. He is a candle lit to Donn - and to the ephemeral nature of every dancer's career - and as such he is far more flattering to Donn's memory than the film footage played of the latter's dancing, which is screened towards the close of the show. The accompanying song, I Want To Break Free, may be one of Queen's most powerful hits, but the filming of Donn's dancing isn't particularly sympathetic to his talent, and the whole sequence comes as an unwelcome longueur in a show that at 105 minutes is indulgently overextended .
It ends, finally, on one blissfully outrageous crescendo. Master of theatrical cliche that he is, Béjart has his whole cast advance downstage in choral slow motion to The Show Must Go On. But while Thursday night's Queen fan club rose in an ecstatic ovation, I suspect they were responding as much to their own memories of the band as to Béjart's show. For it is actually only the choreography for Roman that convinces us of Béjart's real engagement with his material. Nothing about the rest of the production makes me believe he was ever, himself, a genuine Queen fan.
Rock music has its own rogue energy, its own thrashing rhythms, its own institutionalised wildness that it's hard for classically based dance to match. For rock and ballet to work, the choreographer has to be personally passionate about the music. There has to be something he or she believes about it other than the fact that it makes a handily familiar and funky soundtrack. Source: Judith Mackrell - The Guardian