Jiri Kylian's Black & White Ballets
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The ballets represented in the "Black and White" series are arresting examples of Jiri Kylian's style and fully justify his reputation as one of the most inventive and daring choreographers on today's dance scene. The vitality of his work in underpinned by a musically so innate from the same impulse. Dances: "Sarabande" with music by Bach, "Petite Mort" with music by Mozart, "Sweet Dreams" with music by Webern, "No More Play" with music by Webern, "Falling Angels" with music by Reich, "Six Dances" with music by Mozart. 98 minutes.
Black and White Ballets is a treat for all fans of contemporary dance. The Nederlands Dans Theater's reputation is formidable in any event, but there's also a tradition in the Netherlands of producing modern dance for television and video media with enormous expertise, as owners of the superb Springdance VHS collections will testify. The advent of DVD has of course upped the ante considerably in terms of detail and overall production values, with this disc being a fine example of what can be achieved. The stark, monochromatic staging of this sequence of dance pieces is overlaid by a choice of music that encompasses Mozart, Bach, and Webern, but it's the opening item, set to the first part of Steve Reich's Drumming, that is the most compelling, displaying as it does the power of dance to extrapolate from music rather than just accompany it. In terms of features, the disc is pretty spartan, with a stereo-only soundtrack and no extra features worthy of the name, but the overall result is nevertheless highly recommended. --Roger Thomas
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The image quality is good and so is the audio, in terms of DVD production. I would have liked an interview a commentary or some other info on the pieces, but then again the important part of the work is there, and that is the dance display.
In terms of range of interpretation, Kylian is master, while some other choreographers have a single emotion or a very focused subject portrayed throughout a piece, his work encompasses a variety of expressions that can sometimes make you laugh and at other times drive you to introspection. He plays with light and shadow to give them their proper role as characters on stage and to somehow act as a territory for the development of the scenes, since there are no clear stage lines and depths. One thing that I particularly find marvelous is that the movement never or rarely feels improvised as in some contemporary dance proposals, and the quality of performance is flawless, brusqueness is true brusqueness and a sinewy arm is soft and carefully blended with another arm. The action, when there are a lot of elements on stage is not hard to follow, and the graphic aspect of the dance is well balanced at the micro and macro level, so it respects the viewers choice of perspective without the sense of losing a vital piece of the work.
All in all, it is a must in every dance lover's video library.
The reviewer from IL speaks wonderfully of Kylian's choreograhic feats, and I agree. My personal favorite is also Petite Mort, and I would buy the DVD if Petite Mort were the only offering. This work is breathtaking and inspiring.