Sylvie Guillem and Pippi Longstocking

A little procrastination before I attempt to catch up on reviews of books I’ve read over the past few months: a dance review.
I saw “6000 miles” recently, the mixed bill dance show starring Sylvie Guillem, co-produced by her too I believe. I went with my sister, my usual ballet companion – our birthday and Christmas presents these days are mostly tickets for dance shows, and I highly recommend this strategy.

Sadly, this was the slightly truncated show, without the Mats Ek/Sylvie Guillem duet, as Mats Ek was otherwise engaged for just two nights of the “6000 miles” run at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées in Paris, which is where I saw the show.

Well, the first piece, danced by Nicolas Le Riche and Sylvie Guillem was technically brilliant from both partners, a truly virtuoso performance, but it failed to really stir me. It was highly enjoyable to watch such perfection, but I gained rather more emotion from the second piece danced by Ana Laguna (whom I’d seen dance with Baryshnikov a little while back) and I forget which other dancer.

I had great expectations of the third piece, warmly appreciated by a friend, which was the Guillem solo. Well, after Sylvie emerged from the magic mirror (more on that to come), I instantly thought “Pippi Longstocking” and could not get over the image for the rest of the piece. Shame, but take a look at these pictures and you must see what I mean? The long red hair in a sticky-out plait (ok, so Sylvie has one to Pippi’s two), the clunky shoes, the ungainly skirt and top, even down to the visibly muscly legs to match Pippi’s incredible strength…
I must add, however, that I was completely fascinated and enchanted by the magic mirror aka video screen on stage. Having just attended a conference on augmented virtual reality, I realise that this must be quite basic technology (I don’t think you’d risk anything else on stage), but it was 100% effective and beautiful. The screen/mirror/thingy was a free standing device of about human height, placed halfway down the stage. It was both something that gave you a black and white image of what was behind it (Sylvie Guillem dipping in and out of this filmed space) and also showed what must have been recorded images: a group of people – oh and a dog – that looked like they belonged to the same 1950s-ish slightly East European community as the soloist. Utterly entrancing.
All in all though, a four star rather than five star for me, because I wasn’t as thrilled as much as I was by, say, Eonnagata (also with Guillem in it).

One thought on “Sylvie Guillem and Pippi Longstocking”

  1. My sister has pointed out to me that the second piece (choreography by Jiri Kylian) was danced by Auréie Cayla and Lukas Timulak and that Ana Laguna would have danced the duet with Mats Ek that was missed out and not Sylvie Guillem. You following? I knew I should have checked with my programme before writing…

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