Friday, June 27, 2008

We lift 'em higher, we chuck 'em further ....and we catch 'em

Wow! But I mean, really, WOW! What athleticism!

After being a bit depressed about the future of Tbilisi ballet a couple of weeks ago, tonight's offering of Minkus' 'Don Quixote' completely persuaded me otherwise! A packed, doubly packed opera house was in total rapture over this energetic, lively, stunning performance. My Greek companion had seen Nina Ananiashvili, the ballet company director and the star of the performance (and you thought it was about Don Quixote, didn't you?) dance the same part at the Bolshoi in Moscow. He could not wait to see it again.

The synchronicity was better than I had ever seen it; ok, there was the moment when one toreador flicked his cape to the left while the other 7 flicked theirs to the right; and sometimes the minor jumps were a bit like organ pipes, but this was all overcome by Ananiashvili and particularly her male soloists (the ladies were very good, too, but a bit too distant for me to identify). But the guys! It's a long time since I've seen dancers jump so high, and for so long, David Khozuashvili (? or was it Vasil Akhmeteli?) lifting Ms Ananiashvili up on one hand, as high as she will go, catching her as she threw herself at him through the air from quite some distance, and Lasha Khozuashvili doing things with his back that you did not think were humanly possible, apart from doing the most complicated spins and jumps (a lyrical ballet it is not, though he does that wonderfully, too). By the time Irakli Bakhtadze joined them and we had 3 male soloists spinning all over the stage, joined by Ms Ananiashvili, the place erupted.

If you are in Tbilisi, go and see it - it's a lovely classical ballet in a fairytale set, and watch out for these dancers. And if you are abroad, go and get the show to come to you!