Tours en l'air organizes ballet-themed escorted holidays to see the best companies perform great ballets in beautiful places. You can join a trip from anywhere. A highly knowledgeable balletomane who has enjoyed 100s of performances in over 20 cities around the world,I speak English, French, and German, and am a Travel Industry Council of Ontario certified Travel Counsellor. I also teach ballet appreciation courses.
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Tours en l'air Ballet Holidays are offered in partnership with CWT Victor Travel, 101 - 8800 Dufferin Street, Concord, ON L4K 0C5, 416-736-6010, TICO # 1892647


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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tours en l'air Paris Antwerp trip, first installment

Nureyev. Ek. Forsythe. Van Manen. Quite the survey of some of the big names in contemporary ballet. That's what a group of 12 of us enjoyed on Tours en l'air's recent trip to Paris, Antwerp, and Holland. In addition, we did perhaps indulge in the occasional waffle, chocolate, and cherry beer, and saw some beautiful sights.
Kicking off the trip was a performance at the Opera Bastille in Paris of Nureyev's version of Romeo and Juliet. Since the entire group came from Toronto, where the National Ballet of Canada has been performing Cranko's romantic version for the past 40 years, this much darker and more violent vision was quite a change. We all loved the beautiful costumes and stunning sets by Ezio Frigerio, which we could really appreciate from our fantastic fourth-row centre seats (which we valued all the more when we heard that all R&J performances had sold out within two hours of tickets going on sale).

Jury is out on Nureyev's choreography, which some of us found unmusical and awkward, jumpy when it should be lyrical. Another objection was that the first two pas de deux, instead of being real pas de deux, were more like two individuals dancing side by side. Nonetheless, especially since the NBOC will be premiering a brand new version of R&J in the fall by Alexei Ratmansky, it was an interesting experience to see how the music and story can be interpreted differently. Particularly effective is the scene where Mercutio's friends are convinced his death throes are a joke until well after he has died. Another feature I liked was having Juliet rather than Lady Capulet mourn over Tybalt's death, as I have always found the Cranko version rather histrionic. On the whole though, I still love Cranko best! Our cast was Karl Paquette and Isabelle Ciaravolla. While performing manfully, Paquette did look in the more difficult parts as if he was concentrating on the acknowledged difficulties of the choreography rather than staying in character. A dancer who caught my eye was Fabien Revillion as Benvolio, a larger role than in other versions; his jumps and ebullience were impressive. You can see him here (though the person shooting the video seems more interested in the ballerina!)

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