Ballet de Monte Carlo Les Songe (The Dream) TAPAC Tel Aviv June 16 It had been too long - 20 years to be precise - since Ballet de Monte Carlo last visited Israel. In those days, it was a typical repertoire company, and it danced any style brilliantly, from Balanchine to Tudor to an electrifying first taste of Forsythe, when Muriel Mafre danced In The Middle…Somewhat Elevated. Now it carries the signature of its artistic director of the past 17 †years, Jean-Christophe Maillot, who is known for his finely detailed, progressive neo-classical style. The first program (out of two), The Dream, belongs to a line of fantasy story ballets by Maillot and is based on Shakespeare's A Midsummer's Night's Dream. It is a unique rendition of the basic plot, woven with ingenuity, humor and passion, spiced with numerous erotic innuendoes, and is incredibly wild and rather appealing. In the phantasmal spirit inherent to the story, Maillot rightfully pushes forward group scenes, such as the fairies and the hilarious craftsmen of Athens, and turns them into rich, spicy delicatessens, often treated negligibly in many stage productions. You have to see it to believe Titania - the amazing Bernice Coppieters - as she turns an elusive, spiritual image into the most risqué queen of the fairies ever, with each calculated gorgeous move. Her semi-see-through costume alone deserves a special mention, and so do all the imaginative, original outfits designed by Philippe Guillotel, as well as the brilliant lighting by Dominique Drillot, who used the white set in an inspired way. The Dream shows Maillot as a dexterous and inventive choreographer with a fresh eye for the dancing body, yet paradoxically, it shows him adhering to numerous traditional modes as well.

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