N. 281 - July/ August 2019

A Late Summer’s Dream in Photos

Normally BALLET2000 presents a photographic panorama of the dance world, trimming down
its text to minimum, only once a year in the special issue that precedes the first of its annual six
bi-monthly issues. Exceptionally, however, here is a second photo issue for 2019 which we
hope our readers will appreciate.
This summer has been quite rich in dance shows at festivals all over Europe (especially in Italy and
France which are naturally festival-oriented countries). Our critics will be reviewing some of the
particularly successful and interesting novelties and creations in BALLET2000’s next issue.
Meanwhile, in the present issue we have selected a good many “end-of-summer” events, presenting
each one with a beautiful photo accompanied by a short informative text or commentary. “Beautiful”
doesn’t merely mean that they are of good photographic quality; certainly a number of these
shots, by some of the world’s best dance photographers, are pleasing to the eye thanks to the aesthetic
quality of the dance moment that they have been able to capture and to the beauty of the
dancing that has been immortalised in an instant that contains the movement itself. But the most
successful of these images are beautiful also because their instantaneous vision triggers an intuition
of an artistic nature which is that of choreographic creation.
Focusing on events of the outgoing summer and on the follow-up they’ll get during the incoming
autumn season, what have we picked out for you?
We need to be serious so, first and foremost, the celebrations for the centennial of Merce Cunningham’s
birth – which have been fairly extensive, though never sufficiently so. Not a formal historical anniversary,
but a reflection on the oeuvre of a choreographer whose influence is still very much alive on
that sector of contemporary dance that tends towards pure choreographic conception of the more
extreme kind. BALLET2000’s October issue will be spotlighting him.
Then we have a touch of the healthy stardom that obviously defines ballet and of which our cover is
a giveaway: it depicts Svetlana Zakharova, triumphant also this year on the Russian and European
scenes (let’s not forget that nowadays the Russian ballerina, who emerged at the Kirov/Mariinsky
of St Petersburg and affirmed herself at the Bolshoi of Moscow, is officially an étoile at La Scala,
Milan where she recently appeared again in Giselle). The Positano Lifetime Achievement Award
was another feather in her hat in 2019. But readers will discover (or find again) other marvellous
dancers too, starting with the new male star of past few years, Sergei Polunin who now exerts his
charisma over mass audiences, in movies and the media, with daily transgressiveness that gives added
flavour and success to his excellent – though not outstanding – dancing.
We have some stars on the contemporary front too, but they are choreographers. It goes without
saying that one of them is William Forsythe who, after having for a while given the impression that
he was retiring, came back on the scene. His Quiet Evening of Dance spent the summer touring the
major festivals. Mats Ek also showed up again as a creator, and at (no less than) the Paris Opéra.
John Neumeier is a modern 80-year-old who took Beethoven on a summer holiday this year with a
dense programme that was also seen at Italy’s Ravenna Festival.
Stage nudity was a regular feature this summer, greeted these days by an almost indifference; but if
we were to publish too many examples of it, this magazine would end up in the newsstands’ porn
Which leads us to shout three cheers for Matthew Bourne who, without putting on the airs and
graces of one of those Choreographers with a capital “C”, continues to have fun with the classics:
this summer he chose Romeo and Juliet.

Ballet2000 n. July/ August 2019

Svetlana Zakharova in Giselle at La Scala, Milan