In Your Rooms
None of the usual theatrical warnings about switching off your mobiles tonight. Camera phones were sparking all over the place at the Roundhouse in north London, where Hofesh Shechter was storming though a double bill that was more rock gig than dancehouse offering.
“Only £5? Seriously?” Hip hop artist Jonzi D was compering Sadler’s Wells Sampled, but was still surprised when the audience told him how cheap their tickets had been. Back for a second year, Sampled is encouraging audiences to give dance a whirl: low prices, plenty of different styles on offer, a range of classes and events around the performances. The theatre was full and happy.
Ballets de Monte-Carlo, Grimaldi Forum, Monaco – January, 2, 2008
Juanita Amaya and Company, Theatre de Grasse – November 17, 2007
Following the mixed bag of offerings at the Cannes Dance Festival, I had been looking forward to the new season by the Ballets de Monte-Carlo. I have been impressed over the past three years by the company’s consistently high standard and the interesting juxtaposition of a neo-classical dance technique and original contemporary ideas. In 2007 Jean-Christophe Maillot was invited to mount a new production of Gounod’s opera Faust for the Staatstheater in Wiesbaden, Germany. No doubt this experience inspired him to translate the eternal themes of good and evil, youth and ageing as described in Goethe’s famous play of 1808, as a ballet for his own Ballets de Monte-Carlo’s Christmas season. His collaborator in Wiesbaden, the designer, Rolf Sachs, has provided a series of striking stage sets in the fashion of today’s post-modern opera design – a huge open stage with a brilliantly lit cyclorama, backcloths and panels which constantly descend and rise, an outsize armchair, a huge cross, an oversize bed, a suspended upside-down tree and enough chairs to fill a furniture shop. The set and the costumes, by Maillot’s usual designer in Monte-Carlo, Philippe Guilloche, are in strikingly contrasted blacks and whites slashed with scarlet.