Ostrava Ballet- Rossini Cards. (Czech Republic) Herzliya, 3/5/23

Ora Brafman <ora.brafman@gmail.com>Attachments2:57 PM (2 hours ago)

On its first visit to Israel the regional ballet company Ostrava performed two contemporary works by a large international cast of energetic, very capable dancers under the title: Rossini Cards.  It opened with Consequence, a short piece by Spanish choreographer Juanjo Arques, considered as a promising  voice on the current European dance scene.

Ostrava Ballet had done a lot in recent years to rejuvenate its image and conservative repertoire. Currently, they can present a list of known choreographers that cooperated with Ostrava, among them Mauro Bigonzetti, who’s work Rossini Cards is the evening’s main treat.

It was comforting to see the company’s introduction scene when the cast had a chance to impress the house with its highly capable dancers. The work included numerous visual delights and effective scenes based on the performing skills of the cast.

Arques’s Consequence deals with human’s connections and other current issues, including the high technology of our times. Effective lighting design played a major role and served well to focus on specific actions, and it solves a few structural issues regarding the choreography itself. It seemed that the work tried to embrace and put on the table too many worthwhile propositions within 20 minutes. This practice sometimes diminished the chance to reach deeper and achieve more cohesive artistic statements.

The second work by famous Italian choreographer Mauro Bigonzetti concocted a feast, titled-Rossini Cards, set to the beloved music of Gioachino Rossini, and played live on stage by pianist Michal Barta. Bigonzetti is a highly experienced choreographer with a rich career and his works were performed by some of the world’s best dance companies.  

 His works always had a flare, humor and tastefully applied popular elements and for sure the Rossini’s music, made Bigonzetti a friend in spirit of the composer. Stylistically, Bigonzetti  in many ways is a keen soul of the 20th greats like Kylian and Mats Ek , all full with unique imagination, humor and sophistication.

It’s impossible to cover the full work and its numerous captivating moments. Among the highlights was a scene danced on chairs around a long table, set for 14  bare chested dancers. There was a buzz around the table, gentle hands were flowing harmoniously, heads were turned in sync, the legs took part keeping the beat as it got stronger and faster. Polite attitude had turned into a delightful stormy affair.

Another scene that will be remembered was a duet partnered by a couple. We saw a lot of duets that evening, many were impressive and this one, dance by male and female in slow motion, was the best. Wrapped around each other in continuance motion through acrobatic positions and reached almost impossible  postures of great beauty and awe. It was unlike a duet one expected. It wasn't based on emotional ties or on cerebral affinity. It was a compositional gem that received an ingenious crystal touch.

There was much to enjoy watching Rossini Cards, and it could’ve been even better without the chatterbox comedian chatting in contrived fashion- Spaghetti, Macaroni etc.