Robert Tanitch reviews Kings of the Dance at London Coliseum, WC2
KINGS OF THE DANCE celebrates the male dancer and is a showcase for the virtuosity of five celebrated international dancers: Roberto Bolle, Marcelo Gomes, Denis Matvienko, Leonid Sarafanov and Ivan Vasiliev.
The curtain-raiser, Nach Duato’s Remanso, had barely begun before it was over and the audience was taking an unnecessary interval.
The Jean Cocteau/ Roland Petit Le Jeune Homme at la Mort, to Sebastian Bach’s Passacaglia blaring away, is very French late 1940’s existential melodrama, an OTT erotic period piece, which is unashamedly OTT. The Gauloise-smoking artist has an unhappy love affair with a faithless bitch, hurls chairs about the stage and hangs himself. There is a magical moment when Georges Wakhevitch’s attic set literally lifts off. There is a strong performance by Roberto Bolle as the frustrated joungish man. Svetlana Lunkina is femme fatale as Death
In Massimiliano Volpini’s Prototype Roberto Bolle dances with computer graphic multiple images of himself. As Oscar Wilde said, “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”
The duet from Roland Petit’s Marcel Proust ballet, to poignant music by Gabriel Faure, has Morel (Denis Malvienko) and Saint-Loup (Marcelo Gomes) mirroring each other and playing with each other: a tender, sad, gay, temps perdu love affair.
Leonid Sarafanov dances Vestris, Leonid Jacobin’s gentle, elegant and aristocratic catalogue of roles for a camp 18thcentury danceur noble.
The high spot of the evening is Patrick De Bana’s solo, Labyrinth of Solitude. Ivan Vasiliev throws himself into the torment with frenzied leaps and bounds; bravely fighting off his demons, he is beaten yet remains uncowed. The sturdy, stocky, emotional, energy-driven performance had balletomanes on their feet.
The programme ends with Marcelo Gomes’s Ko’d, a bit of audience-friendly, light-hearted fun for the five dancers.