LES BALLETS JAZZ DE MONTREAL performs Barak Marahall’s ‘Harry.’.
(photo credit: GREGORY BATARDON)
Ballets Jazz Montreal
TAPAC, February 2
Canadian company Ballets Jazz Montreal offered a rather conservative repertoire by three choreographers with different styles and perceptions. It ranged from the refined duet by Benjamin Millepied, through the crude and banal creation of Wen Wei Wang to the crazy, fun theatrics of our own Barak Marshal.
Yet, in the end, it was a lukewarm affair.
Dancer Celline Cassone, the brightest gem of the company, performed Millepied’s duet Closer with Alexander Hille, a strong, reliable partner who made her look as delicate as a butterfly in a captivating, nonchalant manner.
The tension between the haunting rhythms of the accompanying musical inspiration Mad Rush by Phillip Glass and the new flavors introduced by Millpied to the neo-classical realm worked extremely well. His choreographic touches were intricate and delicate, yet seemed effortless.
Why Night Box by Wen Wei Wang reached this stage, or any other stage for that matter, is beyond me. Simplistic structural compositions, sloppy compiling of dance styles, mostly no-style movements, unappetizing lighting and costume design. Photo of city lights implies urban complexity, but the dance never rose to the challenge.
He who waited for salvation, received in the end a somewhat muddled version of Barak Marshal’s often wild and crazy theater dance Harry. At least the company looked not too bad.
This is the story of Harry, who died on stage at least three times, and was resurrected by a flock of female groupies, or mourners, if you will.
Expectedly, it had the wild musical menu from Yiddish hit “By Mir Bist du Shein” of the Andrews sisters to Balkan Beat Box, from Maria Callas to Taraf Lonel Budisteanu. All that was served with Barak’s original body gestures in fast-forward mode, combined with literary references, social comments and bursts of mayhem.
Even so, it wasn’t Marshal’s best concoction. It had all the elements, but too many were recycled and a bit tired. Yes, it had its moments, but we’ve seen better.