All Kylián

15 Mar

Last week, The Boston Ballet invited me to the opening night of All Kylián.  This invitation was quite exciting, as I had never seen any shows out of the scope of Nutcracker and Swan Lake. I was looking to experience something different, and boy did the three powerful works set the stage for just that. I must admit, I was quite confused at the progression of the acts; however, its avant-garde nature kept me intrigued to find out what was going to happen next.

The first act, “Wings of Wax”, debuted in 1997 at the Nederlands Dans Theater. The scene details an allegorical journey under a suspended tree from the stage’s ceiling. This ghostly tree is orbited by a mechanical “sun” (spotlight). Dancers come onto the stage in black leotards and move in such rhythm that it looked like their bodies are flexible, similar to the swaying branches of trees. This made me reflect on whether Kylián had envisioned the tree to be positioned that way – it falling from the sky and landed as it came into earth – or if we, the viewer, were we looking at the roots of the tree and the branches were simply stubs.

Words cannot describe how I felt during “Tar and Feathers”. You must see it to believe it. The backdrop to this act is very neutral but accompanied by the grandeur nature of  a piano sitting on 10-foot stilts played by pianist Tomoko Muakaiyama. The scene begins with a roar – which sounds like a vicious dog – from a ballerina that looks serene and gentle: it seems out of place. Next, a voice recites the Samuel Beckett’s poem, “What is the Word.” It was quite a haunting sound and added to the unconventional nature of this act. As the act came to a close, men and women in plastic skirts and bare chests shuffled in in response to the recitation of the poem itself. Their bodies irked to the recitation. As it ended, a single ballerina exits the stage while stepping on bubble wrap that was positioned on stage left. You can’t help but look to the person you came with and let out a chuckle.

The show concludes with “Symphony of Psalms.” Unlike its predecessors, this act has a vivid backdrop: Persian tapestries become a visual focal point. Its vibrant nature is paired with a Boston Symphony Orchestra commissioned Stravinsky score.

There are two nights left of this showing. Don’t miss your chance to see All Kylián’s work before The Sleeping Beauty comes to the Opera House. Can’t wait for that show!

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