Carmen is a dangerous lady. Especially when her character is expressed through movement, choreographed by Alberta Ballet’s Yukichi Hattori. This luscious, dynamic world premiere has its dark moments and stands in contrast to the dull Forgotten Land a company premiere, choreographed by Jiri Kylian.
Forgotten Land is quite an accomplishment for Alberta Ballet as Kylian doesn’t create ballets for other companies, but allows other companies to stage existing works with his permission. It has taken Alberta Ballet twelve years to build the technical caliber to get Kylian’s permission.
It’s unfortunate that Forgotten Land has staging that is so dark and features the wind blowing as a background for the first couple minutes. The movement blends into the background, as does the costuming with the exception of a couple punches of colour. It’s when the movement and music get lively that Forgotten Land becomes more engaging.
Yukichi Hattori’s Carmen is a fresh, contemporary interpretation of the classic narrative. The dancers make use of their acting skills in this piece, and that shines in the ‘cigarette factory’ scene, where the women form an assembly line within movement. Hayna Gutierrez’s Carmen is dynamic and alluring. Hottori’s choreography is vibrant, especially the solo and duet work for Carmen and Jose, creating way more sensual movement for the company and this gives Carmen a more contemporary feel.
What sets Hottori’s choreography apart is the movement he creates on the male dancers. It’s sharp and fuses a martial arts feel within the ballet. This innovative movement along with the changes in the narrative of Carmen, making her a strong, vibrant woman, makes this production more complex. It gives the audience more to hang on to, along with the beauty and grace of the dancers.
Alberta Ballet’s Forgotten Land and Carmen runs until the 28th. Tickets are available online.
Photo Credit: Alberta Ballet Company Artists | Photo: Tim Johnston