I recently wrote a piece for The Nation on dance in opera, inspired in part by Dmitri Tcherniakov’s new production of Prince Igor (and its famous Polovtsian Dances) for the Metropolitan Opera. The piece is now out. For those of you who have a subscription, it’s avaiable here, and for those who are not, I’ve attached a PDF:
Here’s a short excerpt:
“Thirty or so dancers in pale body paint…appeared from beneath the poppies….With the first note of the women’s chorus…the dancers popped up and began undulating and twisting their torsos, tracing calligraphic shapes with their arms in the air or touching their hearts, their heads. In the faster passages, the dancers jumped over the hedges and ran in zig-zagging paths across the stage. When the chorus sang “Khan! Khan!”, a few of the dancers formed couples, with the men pushing and pulling the women by their necks and long, loose hair. During the finale, the men began jumping more frantically, reaching and kicking until, with the last ringing note, the dancers fell to the ground, once again concealed beneath the flowers.”
Here‘s a little excerpt from the dances, as choreographed by Itzik Galili for Tcherniakov.
And here’s a video of Fokine’s version:
So, which do you like better?