On the occasion of the 65th birthday of Nacho Duato, expert of the IngoDance portal Anastasia Isaeva has prepared a review of three ballets on the Mikhailovsky Theater playbill staged by one of the most significant choreographers of our time.
He was a choreographer of the Netherlands Dance Theater, headed the National Ballet of Spain, staged performances in theaters around the world but in 2019 returned to the Mikhailovsky Theater in St. Petersburg, where he had already served as artistic director of the ballet company from 2011 to 2014. Today, Nacho Duato choreographs his own ballets and edits classical productions, such as Romeo and Juliet, The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty, La Bayadère.
Romeo and Juliet
From the very beginning of the performance, whose scenery is designed in dark purple tones, the viewer can't help but get the feeling of the upcoming tragedy. Juliet dances in ballet shoes, which, on the one hand, looks quite unusual at first, but on the other, gives her dancing some freedom. Duato's duets of the main characters turned out to be extremely sensual: port de bras transitioning to preparation for a lift or a jump. The pas of the characters are like a continuous thread: it is difficult to determine where one movement ends and a new dance combination begins. Grand round, pirouette, jete flow like water from one position to another.
If you have already seen the classical version of the ballet, it will be interesting for you to compare the choreography. If not, be sure to watch both productions - you have a great chance to see Nacho Duato's idea more clearly.
The Sleeping Beauty
Nacho Duato’s version of the ballet is closer to the one by Marius Petipa - the outline of the performance is preserved, many choreographic solutions are recognizable. For example, in the adagio part of the final pas de deux, the diagonal with the pirouette is retained but pas de bourrée around the partner is added. Such changes permeate the performance, and when watching it you get a constant feeling that you have already seen it.
However, the performance is worth watching in order to get a more complete picture of the choreographer’s work and form your own opinion on the controversial question: "Is it worth restoring famous ballets today, or is it better to create something new and original, instead of returning to the eternal classics?"
Multiplicity. Forms of Silence and Emptiness
One of the most famous ballets by Nacho Duato premiered in the city of Weimar, where Johann Sebastian Bach lived, worked and reached his creative peak. This was not a random choice as the performance is a choreographic biopic telling the story of the composer’s life. With the help of choreography, the dancers' bodies depict on stage notes, musical instruments, love and death.
Duato's choreographic style is noticeable throughout the entire performance, but duets are especially effective: they are organic to the music, they are characterized by smooth movements and unusual angles. Together they convince the audience that the music by Johann Bach was created to take shape in the choreography by Nacho Duato.
Photo: official website of the Mikhailovsky Theater