Performing arts productions in Europe are a special experience, and they’re one of my favorite parts of traveling abroad. Last night, I attended a modern ballet – Signatures of the Masters – at Bratislava’s New National Theatre (SND). Before the performance, I had only viewed the theatre’s ultra-modern exterior. The interior is also impressive!
Choreographers Masters – Liang, Davidson, Forsythe, and Robbins
The special ballet performance was a “medley of one-act stage pieces representing the work of four imperative and world choreographers of the 20th and 21st centuries – Edwaard Liang, Craig Davidson, William Forsythe, and Jerome Robbins“.
“Each of the four works performed is distinctive and unique in terms of movement vocabulary, different perceptions of the dancer’s body, and individual approach to the adaptation of dance technique into a choreographic text.” snd.sk
The four choregraphed works presented are listed below. All were impeccably performed before an ecstatic audience. The talented dancers and soloists are members of the Corp de Ballet of the Slovak National Theatre. Except for the Craig Davidson piece, dancing was accompanied by the Slovak National Theatre Orchestra, conducted by Kevin Rhodes. Piano and violin solos were outstanding, with mesmerizing dances performed in complete harmony with the music.
- The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude by William Forsythe, Music Franz Schubert
- Murmuration by Edwaard Liang, Music Enzio Bosso
- Entropy by Craig Davidson, Music Nicholas Thayer
- The Concert by Jerome Robbins, Music Frédéric Chopin
Modern Composers Nicholas Thayer and Enzio Bosso
I especially enjoyed the unique electronic extraterrestrial sounds of Nicholas Thayer’s composition for Davidson’s Entropy ballet, which is about time shifts! Enzio Bosso’s composition for Liang’s Murmuration – Violin Concerto No. 1 The EsoConcerto – is a dramatic, exciting “rhapsodic evocation of birds in flight“.
Listening to the dynamic music of Thayer and Bosso while watching the lithe dancers, made it easy to imagine being lost in a time warp or envision groups of “starlings frantically twisting, turning, swooping, and swirling across the sky in beautiful shape-shifting clouds“! Both Bosso and Thayer are new composers for me. I love their music, which was perfectly attuned to the genius choreography.
“William Forsythe’s ballet, The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, received New York City’s Best Ballet of the Season critics’ choice award in 1998 and appears in the repertoires of some of the most world-renowned ballet companies. Insider circles have referred to it as the most technically difficult ballet ever performed.” Mariinsky Theatre
The creative and complex dance compositions were “linked together by technical sophistication, with emphasis on movement aesthetics and poetics reflected in the harmony between dance and music”. The magnificent dancers demonstrated their superior strength, endurance, and skill. They captivated the audience while performing extremely challenging movements with ease!
Each piece was so brilliant and well performed, it was impossible to pick a favorite. The humor of the Jerome Robbins comic ballet, The Concert (or The Perils of Everybody), is pure joy. It was a memorable evening!
“The four dance tableaus bear the unique choreographic style of their creators – Edwaard Liang, Craig Davidson, William Forsythe, and Jerome Robbins. They combine a neoclassical style with a perfectly mastered craft.” Rukopisy majstrov Slovenské národné divadlo Balet