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Cheers for a riveting Canadian dance company at Jacob's Pillow and more music from Tanglewood,


Becket, Massachusetts, USA -- In 1931 modern dance pioneer Ted Shawn bought the mountaintop Carter farm (known as Jacob's Pillow) in the hills of western Massachusetts as a retreat. That same year Shawn directed the final rehearsals of his famous Denishawn Company there. In 1933 Shawn formed an all male dance company and staged summer lecture-demonstrations that became the genesis of the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival. Today that great tradition continues as Jacob's Pillow has become home to the cutting edge choreographers and innovators of contemporary dance.

On 17 August 2005 Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal graced the stage of the Jacob's Pillow Ted Shawn Theater (America's first theater designed especially for dance). This brilliant company is redefining ballet with original works by path blazing European choreographers. The Dutch choreographer Didy Veldman's TooT is a witty, poignant, kinetic work that mixes elements of a dance class and circus with social satire. TooT is both a hard edged commentary on the relationship of the individual to society and a celebration of movement in all its forms (with elements of Cirque de Soleil). Set to Shostakovich's Jazz Suite No 2 and the music of the New Age rock band Belanescu Quartet (which features violins and cellos as well as guitars and synthesizers), the ballet was a dazzling showcase for the extraordinary Canadian dancers. Veldman is a genius of choreographic movement!

Her thought provoking ballet was paired with the gifted Belgian choreographer Stijn Celis's brilliantly original version of Les Noces. Celis reinvents Igor Stravinsky's landmark score with riveting, ritualistic dance movements that perfectly dovetail the pounding, rhythmic precision of the music. Several layers of meaning form the subtext of this Russian wedding's massive frenzy. Anik Bissonnette and Callye Robinson brought supple, boundless energy and strongly theatrical personalities to the pivotal roles of the bride and groom. The entire company danced splendidly and received a cheering ovation. Celis's visionary Les Noces makes Bronislava Nijinska's original version seem a historical relic. Revolutionary dance by a stellar company!

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Copyright © 4 September 2005 Lawrence Budmen, Miami Beach, USA


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