Dance review: Sylvie Guillem, Sadler’s Wells, London
Tuesday 21 May 2013
Some stars become famous far beyond their own fields. You don't need to be interested in running to know about Usain Bolt; you don’t need to be interested in dance to have heard of French ballerina Sylvie Guillem. In both cases, the fame comes from something beyond their undoubted skill. It’s about charisma, the personality that shines through the technique.
At 48, Guillem has moved away from classical ballet. Her show 6000 Miles Away, created in 2011, is a personal showcase: works made for her by leading choreographers William Forsythe and Mats Ek, plus a duet by Jirí Kylián. It’s a reflection of Guillem’s own tastes and interests; one performance will raise money for marine charity Sea Shepherd.
Though it’s a personal show, the first half borders on alienating. We first see Guillem in Forsythe’s Rearray, a stop-start duet that takes classical steps apart and wonders whether to put them back together. Blackouts slice the material into short chunks. Guillem and Massimo Murru will take a crisp academic pose then wriggle their way out of it, bump through little knee bends, stroll on and off. The performance style is cool – in both senses – and withdrawn.
It’s still a showcase for Guillem’s remarkable physique: long legs and wiry flexibility under a mop of red hair. She dips into a deep plié, straightens one leg so the stretch is even deeper – then somehow finds the extra reach to dip further, bumping one buttock to the floor.
It’s virtuoso gawkiness, but as Forsythe goes on worrying at knots of movement, it becomes repetitive. Paired with Kylián’s 27’52”, in which Nederlands Dans Theater’s Aurélie Cayla and Lukas Timulak pluck at their clothes, wind around each other and fail to communicate, it makes a chilly first half.
Things warm up with Ek’s Bye, a quirky solo that shows Guillem as a woman making decisions, making sense of her life. She interacts with her own filmed image, wittily popping in and out of sight on screen and in the flesh. Dressed in a mustard skirt and garish blouse, she skips and scampers, bounding through a jump or upending herself in a headstand. Her famous “six o’clock” legs are still there, swinging sky high almost in passing.
This time, the contrasts are lit up by an engaged, bright performance. You can follow Guillem’s rippling movement as if it were a train of thought, the star personality unleashed. The goofy squats look stubborn or determined, before she takes off in delighted flight.
Until 25 May. Box office 0844 412 4300
An enlightening finale for Don DraperTV
Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treattv
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 JK Rowling horrified by Harry Potter actor Matthew Lewis's raunchy photoshoot
- 2 As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
- 3 Georgia Army veteran arrested for breaking window to save dog has charges dropped
- 4 New Zealand 'the best country to work as a prostitute', says sex worker advocacy group
- 5 Melissa McCarthy's brilliant response to one sexist question posed to her on the red carpet by a male reporter
Cannes Film Festival rejects women from red-carpet screening of pro-LGBT romance 'Carol' for not wearing high heels
Game of Thrones rape scene criticised as 'disgusting' by US senator Claire McCaskill who says she's 'done' with show
Beyonce angers fans by pouring expensive champagne into hot tub in Nicki Minaj 'Feeling Myself' video
Love, Cannes film review: Visceral brilliance sets Gasper Noé drama apart from standard porn
Game of Thrones: 10 most controversial moments amid beheadings, blood and incest
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
Labour leadership: Battle lines are drawn as members battle over party's ideology at first hustings of the contest
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland