Lynn René Bayley
, July 2012
Thierry Malandain fills space exceptionally well and gets his dancers to move in a very fluid series of motions that creates excellent continuity…For Malandain has created a virtual kaleidoscope of motion.A lot of the choreography is athletic, and related to gymnastics or show dancing, but most of it is actually pure ballet. Some of it is simply fun, or funny, as in the “Dance of the Swans,” which turns into a foot-and-tush-ballet for four male dancers, or those moments in the Nutcracker when the corps simply marches across the stage whooping and hollering like children. Indeed, part of the joy of Magifique is just that, the joy of watching 16 perfect dancers—none of whom solo for very long, all of whom take turns in the spotlight, and all of whom, as a group, are damn near the equal of the greatest female and male dance stars of 40 years ago.
It’s hard for me to convey in writing just how good these dancers are. Not only does not one of them break their lines, but their constant interchanging of parts is consistent in execution and excellence. Malandain does not seem to go in much for putting his dancers on pointe, or having an endless string of jetées, but it doesn’t matter. The whirling, swirling whole is what impresses you and keeps your interest up.
…when one turns from Swan Lake to Nutcracker, the level of humor is turned up. This is when the dancers run across the stage whooping and hollering, and it is fun to watch. Male dancers have fun doing some clever but silly things during the “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy,” and female dancers flip hands over their heads in the “Chinese Dance.” It is all a wonderful mélange of motion that Malandain keeps up through the final Adagio, which like the one in Swan Lake starts out as a pas de deux but ends up as a pas de huit.
In addition to the element of fun, much of the choreography is also sensual, mostly because of the unisex attitudes of both the dancers and Malandain’s concept, but he understands that one should not offend an audience by turning sensuality into pornography. It’s much more interesting, not to say enticing, to leave it where it is. What Malandain gives you is the pure essence of dance, and also the pure essence of enjoyment. I highly recommend this DVD to all ballet lovers. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review