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Rhapsody in black and white

THE RECENTLY established Balet Bratislava ensemble held the premiere of its second performance, 3Balet, in chilly January. The timing was appropriate, it seems, as 3Balet consists – surprise, surprise – of three pieces, the first of which bears the title Frost. The féerie in white fitted well with the atmosphere outside. The two following pieces, Rose and Monos, bore a different flair but did not diverge too far from the original perception.

Rose, with pendulum.(Source: Ctibor Bachratý)

THE RECENTLY established Balet Bratislava ensemble held the premiere of its second performance, 3Balet, in chilly January. The timing was appropriate, it seems, as 3Balet consists – surprise, surprise – of three pieces, the first of which bears the title Frost. The féerie in white fitted well with the atmosphere outside. The two following pieces, Rose and Monos, bore a different flair but did not diverge too far from the original perception.

Frost, choreographed by Šárka Ondrišová, represents a metaphor for the issue of chill and cold. The second piece, Rose, authored by Stanislava Vlčeková, is inspired by the work of Marcel Proust In Search of Lost Time. Swapping colours from white to black did not change the mood abruptly. The sweetly nostalgic but also somewhat disquieting air of the piece was stressed by the constant movement of the pendulum, ticking the time away. In Mário Radačovský’s third dance, Monos, the focus turned from outer events and memories more inwards, to the limits of one’s self as reflected – sometimes – by other people, or bedimmed in other cases. In Monos, the black colour that also prevailed in Rose was completed with a strong red, creating an impressive combination.

All three choreographies were interpreted by the single ensemble of Balet Bratislava, making it an extremely demanding performance, especially due to the relatively short time since the group’s previous premiere in November 2011. Moreover, the troupe plans to travel with 3Balet, as well as performing re-runs on its home stage at Nová Scéna in the Slovak capital. Šárka Ondrišová said after the first evening, on January 21, that collaborating with other choreographers and working with 3Balet is quite different from project work at her dance theatre, Elle Danse, where she controls the time, the artists and all aspects of the show. “This work was demanding as everything had to be harmonised, adapted to fit perfectly, and the time for rehearsing was quite short,” she told The Slovak Spectator. “I think it was especially difficult for those dancers who appeared in all three pieces, as they sometimes had to switch abruptly from one role to another, rehearsing two hours with me, two with Mário [Radačovský] and two with Stanka [Vlčeková]. And the premiere must have been very demanding for them too.” She added that her Frost, being the opening piece, was rather a matter of technicalities, and not of deep artistic considerations. But she said that the three choreographies were not in fact linked by any common idea, so the order was not crucial.

Radačovský, who also danced in the piece he choreographed refused to evaluate his own performance on the evening but said that audiences responded well and that made him hope that the programme will appeal to fans of dance. He stressed that for the Balet Bratislava troupe which he leads experiencing three different choreographers with three quite different philosophies and artistic perceptions, as well as dance backgrounds, might be enhancing for the dancers. After Romeo and Juliet, the ballet which was the first work performed by Balet Bratislava, 3Balet has shifted the stress slightly from a more ‘classical’ or ‘neoclassical’ style to a freer realm of modern dance.

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