Eifman Ballet
DIANA VISHNEVA: ON THE EDGE
LES BALLET DE MONTE-CARLO
Kings of the Dance Tickets
POLINA SEMIONOVA & FRIENDS
SOLO FOR TWO: NATALIA OSIPOVA & IVAN VASILIEV
MIKHAILOVSKY BALLET
MARIINSKY BALLET

Diana Vishneva: Beauty in Motion

Title: Diana Vishneva: Beauty in Motion, City Center, New York
Author: Hilary Ostlere
Date: February 26, 2008
Publisher: The Financial Times

There wasn't a swan's feather in sight when that most accomplished of classical ballerinas, Diana Vishneva, presented herself along with five soloists from the Maryinsky for an evening of determinedly contemporary ballet. An ambitious programme featured works by three very different choreographers: Alexei Ratmansky, Moses Pendleton and Dwight Rhoden, with Ratmansky's Pierrot Lunaire to the Arnold Schoenberg song cycle standing well above the rest. There have been several attempts to choreograph this music set to poems by Albert Giraud, but it is a challenge few have been equal to.
There wasn't a swan's feather in sight when that most accomplished of classical ballerinas, Diana Vishneva, presented herself along with five soloists from the Maryinsky for an evening of determinedly contemporary ballet. An ambitious programme featured works by three very different choreographers: Alexei Ratmansky, Moses Pendleton and Dwight Rhoden, with Ratmansky's Pierrot Lunaire to the Arnold Schoenberg song cycle standing well above the rest. There have been several attempts to choreograph this music set to poems by Albert Giraud, but it is a challenge few have been equal to.
Vishneva, Igor Kolb, Mikhail Lobukhin and Alexander Sergeev shared the role of Pierrot and other commedia dell'arte characters, with accompaniment from Elena Sommer, mezzo-soprano, and a chamber group from the Maryinsky Orchestra. All four dancers were at first dressed similarly in Tatiana Chernova's sleek Pierrot costumes. Vishneva soon switched to a stylish tunic as she became the playful Columbine.
Ratmansky has a virtuosic style with the emphasis on elevation - steps that keep the dancers flying into the air. The three men did him proud, all being strong dancers of great fluidity. In some of the variations Vishneva's darker qualities came to the fore in duets and trios with Sergeev and Kolb; at one point she exited with Lobukhin on all fours, leading him off like a dog. Ratmansky shows Vishneva in a different light, and not just moonlight.
Since Pendleton founded Momix in 1997, he has intrigued us with his trompe l'oeil tricks, often in cinematic animation style. These days, however, such effects seem a bit dated, though they have their charm in the right place. F.L.O.W. stands for For Love of Women, a title as tiresome as the piece. After one of those blackout numbers when unrecognisable bits of anatomy formed quirky shapes, Vishneva was presented lying on a mirror platform where she rolled around, struck poses and gazed at her reflection, Narcissus style. Later she was like a whirling dervish in a shower, with an oversized circle of many strands of shiny beads hung round her neck forming patterns.
Rhoden's Three Point Turn, involving Vishneva and guest artist Desmond Richardson, Lobukhin, Maria Shevyakova, Sergeev and Ekaterina Ivannikova, was one of those lovers-fight-and-make-up ballets that seem more like wrestling matches. Individually the dancers were great, Richardson a powerhouse of brawn and style, Vishneva an agony (if not swan) queen. The other couples did well but they could all have been working a nightshift to David Rozenblatt's mechanical score. Motion yes, beauty no.