Dance gala at “VeneziainDanza” with The Slovenian National Theater Opera & Ballet Ljubljana with guest étoiles Anastasia and Denis Matvienko

Between past and present, the Slovenian corps de ballet inaugurated the XIV edition of "VeneziainDanza" directed by Michela Barasciutti at the Malibran Theater in Venice with a rich program, entrusted to great choreographers, and in particular to Maestro Renato Zanella, current Director of Ballet in Ljubljana.

by Michele Olivieri
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Nine brilliant “pas de deux” and two solos, plus a sparkling grand finale, for the opening night of the XIV edition of the “VeneziainDanza” Festival directed by Michela Barasciutti. There was something for all tastes, at the historic Malibran Theater in Venice, thanks to the Slovenian Opera Ballet, and the gala prepared by Renato Zanella, director of dance in Ljubljana.

Guests are the international étoile couple Anastasia and Denis Matvienko. Great confirmations and pleasant discoveries awaited the evening which sold out in every order of place, as is rarely seen these days. A prestigious parterre, with illustrious guests including the Slovenian Superintendent Staš Rauter, the former principal dancer of the Paris Opéra Alessio Carbone, and the former principal dancer of the San Carlo Theater in Naples, Ugo Ranieri.

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The confirmations can be found in the extract from “Le Corsaire” and in “The Dying Swan” performed by Anastasia Matvienko

Anastasia Matvienko is the incontrovertible basis of a monument of dance and which in a very short time entrusts beauty, lyricism and the culmination to an infinite purity. The acclaimed étoile has been able to best express the fervent vital desire with the inevitability of death by “breathing” her art thanks to exquisitely crafted port de bras. The pleasant discoveries, to begin with, can be found instead in the Slovenian artists who, directed by a skillful hand, have donated an alchemy between past and present, riding the styles with dense emotion, and absolute scenic mastery.

This despite the considerable slope of the stage, which in most of the historic Italian theaters is projected towards the stalls. This inclination in professional jargon is called a slope, and was born as an optical ploy to make the scene visible even to the first rows of the stalls, often close to the stage. Perhaps not everyone knows that without the slope, the audience in the first rows would see the artists perform from the middle of the stage to the back only from the knees up.

Obviously, a skilled dancer knows how to calculate the scene precisely based on the slope of the stage, especially when it comes to balance (using the codified French terminology “aplomb”) which is the dancer’s ability to maintain the harmonious stability and the right balance of figure without losing the precision of the movements on two legs or one, both during a virtuosity and at the beginning of an evolution and, in particular, in the conclusion in a firm position.

The executions, also by virtue of this clarification, were punctuated by strong personalities, in which all without distinction demonstrated an enviable technique, rediscovering intact the apotheosis for the Matvienko champions whose range goes from the refined footwork of the romantic era to the most expressive contemporary movements. The highlight was reserved for them and the task of conquering the bystanders thanks to a rigorous and highly academic distillate.

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Renato Zanella, Michela Barasciutti & Stefano “Masa” Costantini, grasped that sense of measure and effort in building a gala evening “step by step”

Zanella, with the complicity of Michela Barasciutti (together with Stefano “Masa” Costantini, organizer of the Cultural Dance and Promotions Association and manager of the Točnadanza Company, born in 1991, which every other year performs with a new choreography by the artistic director in the context of the Festival) and the substantial collaboration of the Teatro La Fenice, which as always made Malibran and its workers available, grasped that sense of measure and effort in building a gala evening “step by step”. We perceived the care, and the time dedicated to it, because you can’t improvise… “dance is like this”, just like “life is like this”.

The idea of ​​how even a program is built step by step is a clear intention of Zanella, with that never-failing desire to cling to quality, as if it were an imperceptible liturgy, with that stubbornness in continuing to believe in the prodigy of the theater . During the time of the evening (about an hour and a half without an interval) this prodigy of his was perceived, almost as if it were a wish to take home.

Boasting twelve talented dancers, the evening was filled with fascinating influxes of movements, linked to choreographic hues, and to the attempt to unite different sensory spheres between the arts which, especially in some choreographic pieces, were well welded between poetry and sound like were geometric lines. Through the bodily communication of dance, dialogue and the involvement of music, the gala has concretely approached the ability to create a climate suitable for everyone, understood as mutual knowledge, communication and exchange between different countries and cultures, becoming an expressive medium of meanings . A dialogue that arises from the dictionary of the body, making the latter an instrument of relationship and freedom.

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Maestro Zanella, has introduced the gala from the stage by presenting his company & its current repertoire, with two creations by young choreographers

Maestro Zanella, who introduced the gala from the stage by presenting his company and lineup in multilingual, then stated at the end of the evening as follows

“The concept of the evening is simple, to present the company with its current repertoire, well balanced between classic and modern, with two creations by young choreographers, L. Zuschlag and F. Jorio. The young Slovenian company has many talents and is international, with two premieres per season it has a total of around 80 performances between ballet, opera and tours. I also wanted to introduce the Matvienko couple, who have recently joined the company with whom we are setting up an important artistic relationship. The couple, who live in a refugee situation, were welcomed with open arms by Ljubljana after their painful forced departure from St. Petersburg. We are currently working on the production of ‘Giselle’ signed by the newly elected Director of the Paris Opéra José Carlos Martínez. The next tours in Italy will be at the Teatro Verdi ddfgikdgji Trieste with my version of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ on the sets by Alessandro Camera”.

Specifically, the joyful “Spring Waltz” with Tjaša Kmetec and Lukas Zuschlag (choreography by Zanella to music by Johan Strauss) will open the ballet gala, followed by the interesting “A Chosen Landscape” with Erica Pinzano and Lukas Bareman ( choreography by Lukas Zuschlag, based on Claude Debussy’s “Claire de Lune”, the romantic “Pas d’Esclave” with Chie Kato and Filip Juric (choreography by José Carlos Martinez, music by Ludwig Minkus), the melancholic “Voyage” with Petar Dorčevski (choreography by Renato Zanella to music by W.A. Mozart), the exciting “Romeo and Juliet” with Kenta Jamamoto and Nina Kronberger (choreography by R. Zanella, music by Prokofiev), the unpredictable “Metamorphers” with Lukas Zuschlag and Lukas Bareman (choreography by Jacopo Godani, music by Béla Bartók quart. nr. 4), the elegant “Death of the Swan” with Anastasia Matvienko (choreography by Fokine, music by Camille Saint Saëns), the intriguing “Catch” with Filippo Jorio and Erica Pinzano (choreography by Filippo Jorio, m sounds by Kangding Ray), the captivating “The Great Gatsby” with Tjaša Kmetec and Kenta Jamamoto (choreography by Leo Muijc, music by Glenn Miller), the singular “Radio and Juliet” with Anastasia and Denis Matvienko (choreography by Edward Clug, music by Radiohead), the flowing “Adagietto” with Chie Kato and Petar Dorčevski (choreography by Renato Zanella, music by Gustav Mahler), and the effervescent finale “Leichtes Blut” with all the performers on stage to choreography by Zanella and music by Johann Strauss Jr.

The choice of the director of the corps de ballet was to favor and place the emphasis on his company, giving the veins of each individual artist chiseled with fluidity and naturalness. Also allowing the different choreographers to dialogue remotely with each other, indifferently with their own style to return a poetic and aesthetically proportionate scent.

“Veneziaindanza” 2002 has confirmed itself as a review with a broad international scope, which at each edition is enriched with pearls to its own history. Just like the city that bears the name of the review – thanks to the inexhaustible passion and commitment of Michela Barasciutti and Stefano Costantini – the festival reveals itself as the very essence of Terpsichorean art today.

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