May 31, 2007

Dance the day away

Music is great because you can put it on the stereo and still do other things. Not so dance, which requires one too many senses for multitasking. I've wasted a good chunk of the morning hunting around YouTube for the work of the French choreographer Maurice Béjart, just for fun; I figure I better just post a few before the whole day is a wash.

Here's a bit of Béjart's 1966 Webern, Opus V, as danced by Loipa Araujo and Jorge Esquivel at the 1969 International Ballet Competition in Moscow. Unfortunately marred by an announcer who has no idea what he's talking about—that w in Webern's name is pronounced like a v, my good man! Maybe I'm biased, but I actually find it pretty romantic.

This two-parter gives a little glimpse of Béjart at work, fashioning his 1973 ballet to Boulez's La marteau sans maître. The primary dancers are Jorge Donn and Rita Poelvoorde. The rehearsal sequences are beautifully lyrical; the finale, from the La Scala premiere, is a little outré out of context, but makes fascinating comparison with the more overt classicism of the 1966 dance.

Béjart has a long history with modernist atonality (both the 1962 Suite viennoise and the 1982 Wien, Wien, Nur du Allein use music of the Second Viennese School; he's also choreographed Stockhausen's Stimmung), but also has a knack for less abstruse sounds. Here's Donn and Poelvoorde again, in a terrifically charming pas de deux from Dichterliebe, choreographed in 1975 to music by Schumann and (the bulk of this excerpt) Nino Rota.

And now my procrastination is yours.

No comments: