«If there is a master of masters, it's Ji?í Kylián,» says ballet director Ingrid Lorentzen of the choreographer who has regenerated dance through decade after decade. The Norwegian National Ballet has been a standard-bearer of his work, and when the Théâtre des Champs Elysées wanted to stage a Kylián evening, they invited us to Paris to perform three of his most famous ballets. But the premiere in Oslo comes first.
The first treat of the evening is the expressive Bella Figura, in which nine dancers attract and repel one another with movements both elegant and fumbling. «Set to melodious Baroque music against sliding backdrops and open flames, Bella Figura is precisely what the title promises: a rare beauty on which to rest the eyes,» wrote Dagbladet when Bella Figura was first staged in Oslo.
This is followed by the magnificent Symphony of Psalms, danced to Stravinsky's powerful music, and the most recent of the ballets, 2008's Gods and Dogs:
In front of an enormous, moving silver backdrop, the brittle line between normality and madness is played out to Beethoven's string quartet no. 1 – interrupted by abrupt, loud percussion. «It is strangely beautiful,» wrote Vårt Land after the Norwegian premiere in 2013. «The set design, music and dance meld into one living framework.»