ballet: 9 posts

Georgian National Ballet : Dance and Dazzle

If Georgia’s cuisine is any indication, this country’s other arts are equally dazzling, especially music and dance. The first time I saw Georgian dancing was when the Georgian National Ballet Sukhishivili-Ramishvili visited Kyiv during my childhood. By then I had already studied classical ballet for several years, so it was hard to impress me with complicated turns or jumps, but when the Georgian troupe took stage, it charged up the whole auditorium with so much energy that for the two hours of the performance I felt myself soaring. I have since seen hundreds of dance performances, both folk and classics, but this feeling of intoxication and euphoria returned only on a few occasions since, the most recent being during Natalia Osipova’s performance of Giselle.

And it’s hard not to be moved watching Georgian dancing with its energy, rhythm, complex technique and precision. The clip above is the rehearsal of the same troupe I saw as a child, but of course, with a new generation of dancers. Sukhishvili-Ramishvili Ballet is based on traditional Georgian dancing, though they incorporate classical ballet elements to polish the movements further. Men dancing on bent toes, though, is part of the traditional repertoire, predating ballet’s en pointe technique. Although this clip is only the rehearsal, it gives you a sense of the troupe’s virtuosity. I watched it at least ten times, and I still hold my breath when the dancers do pirouettes on their knees, then raise themselves en pointe before jumping in the air and holding a trinacria-like shape for what seems like minutes.

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Black Swan, White Swan

What are your Black Swan and White Swan scents? If you’re craving a bewitching perfume, what do you choose?

When I first tried Repetto perfume, this sparkling gourmand floral made me think of the Sugar Plum Fairy, all sweetness and joy. I wished for more drama and magic, something more suitable for the Black Swan enchantress Odile.

black-swan

Some choices were obvious when I glanced at my perfume shelf. Annick Goutal Néroli is my White Swan perfume, a delicate, pretty orange blossom that wears like a sheer veil. But if I’m in a Black Swan mood, then I reach for Vero Profumo Rubj. It’s one of the sultriest, darkest florals in my collection, and it is as provocative as it is alluring.

The same duality can be found in my favorite roses: Parfums de Rosine Un Zest de Rose is a smiling, ethereal blossom, but if I want something more dramatic, then Serge Lutens La Fille de Berlin would be my potion of choice. Another Black Swan rose I love is Etat Libre d’Orange Rossy de Palma, a hailstorm of earthy, spicy petals.

Etat Libre d’Orange RienClinique Aromatics Elixir, and Yves Saint Laurent Nu are my other Black Swan perfumes, mostly because they are intriguing and unpredictable. Just like Odile.

Image: a still from the film, Black Swan, starring Natalie Portman

Repetto by Maison Repetto : Fragrance Review

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As a young ballet student I used to bristle whenever people said, “oh, ballet, it’s so lovely and pretty,” after I had just danced in excruciating pain. Later, it dawned on me that a dancer has to make something difficult seem weightless and graceful. If you see a swan sweat and strain, then she didn’t succeed in her craft. Perhaps, that is the reason I look indulgently upon the prettiness of Repetto. It’s about a ballet fantasy of pink slippers, tutus and Sugar Plum fairies.

parfum-repetto

Repetto is a French company that successfully made the cross over from professional dance shoes to everyday ballet flats and much more. There is now a line of clothing, handbags, and of course, fragrance. Repetto perfume launched earlier this year retaining the same ethereal aesthetic of the brand. It even involved Dorothée Gilbert, a Paris Opera Ballet prima, to star in its campaign. You can see the lithe dancer spraying on Repetto as she gets ready to leave for her rehearsals. A few shots later she adds a generous spritz on her neck just as she’s stepping onto the scene.

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Ballet and Perfume Balanchine and Guerlain

Watching an interview with the late New York City Ballet artistic director and choreographer, George Balanchine, on a DVD titled simply Balanchine (2004) led me to an interesting Guerlain reference. In an interview, Balanchine mentions that he liked buying perfumes for his dancers and especially Guerlain.

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Although he did not name any specific perfumes, in another article I read that Mitsouko was among his favorites. The interviewer must have made a comment about the beauty of dancers as they trail perfume on the stage like lithe fragrant flowers, to which Balanchine replied, waving away the remark, “No, no, I just like to know once I get to the theater whether everybody is present and who is missing.” This was a quintessential Balanchine moment. Having such a grounded perspective in the ephemeral world of ballet is a true rarity.

Photo: George Balanchine and Suzanne Farrell in rehearsal.

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