Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Ballet Contemporáneo del Teatro San Martin

My good friend Erin is leaving, but more on that later. To make the most of her (gasp) last week in Buenos Aires we decided to check out Teatro San Martin. While exploring el sito de web we came across the Ballet Contemporáneo del Teatro San Martin and we were sold. We headed out last night accompanied by Josh for the 8:30 show. Even though the web site said the tickets would cost $25 they were actually $35 but that was the only disappointing moment of the evening.

The building that houses Teatro San Martin is in Complejo Teatral de Buenos Aires and is one of many venues in a big but not super nice building. The theater itself was clearly old but our seats were right in the middle and we had a wonderful unadulterated view of the low stage.
We committed the faux pas of not paying our Usher a tip for the program and got the dirtiest look I've received on this continent, but when we figured out the cause of it by watching other patrons and we didn't feel badly enough to make up for it. I'll be ready next time though.

The performance was in three parts.
The first was called "Rotunda" and began with the company running around in a circle on the stage. There was a lit up circle on the floor with lines that served as paths for the dancers to use as they left the circle to cross paths, change places, or do a quick dance move before returning back to the circle of sprinting dancers. The girls wore cheeky (as in you saw a lot of cheek and not the kind on the face) short silk dresses and the guys wore t-shirts and pants and everyone wore jazz shoes which I'm sure made the fact that they were sprinting for 20 minutes straight a little easier. As the dance progressed it got more and more complex with more dancers leaving the circle and doing crazy things, and then they broke out of the circle and did more cool and crazy running. Well, it was really cool and I can't believe they could remember such complex coreography. I also never really noticed anyone panting so I'm guessing they all had to quit smoking for a while because I could never have run like that for that long and I'm not a smoker. Pretty impressive.

came next after a short intermission. This piece was a couples based piece and the women were dressed again in short silk dresses but these looked more like night wear while the men wore pants and deep v's. Like...really deep v's... The stage had too large lamps hanging from the ceiling and a rectangle of light displayed against the back wall, and the piece began with the dancers spread out over the stage. Some were on the floor, some lounging on one of the two couchy benches, and some were standing. The first to move was a man wearing antlers. We still haven't figured that one out. As the dance progressed the couples would switch, or join together, but the sensual slow and then fast, combative and then harmonious dancing between the couples was beautiful. The almost frail looking female dancers would be like puddy in the hands of their male counterpart and then in the next moment they would be the one controlling the dance, taking the man by his head or foot and swinging his body around hers, pushing or pulling him away. I thought it was beautiful, sad, and happy. I would find myself smiling without meaning to. In the end the antlers came back and then the lit rectangle had phrases in Spanish about body parts touching, and I totally missed that the couple dancing on the side had shed the majority of their clothing and only wore bottoms. The piece ended with the half naked couple writhing and moving together and ended in a collapse on the floor and darkness.

Lejos - From Far Away ended the night. Its a famous dance by Mauricio Wainrot that has been performed all over the world.

The costumes were more of what we expected from a contemporary dance piece, and it was the piece with the most ballet. It was breathtaking to say the least. Much more group dancing, with traditional movement across the stage or moves like the one above. This piece showed off the real potential of our bodies and the mind. The choreography was some of the best I've seen and the dancers showed us how beautiful the human form can be with clean long lines, and perfection in control and movement. The whole thing was jaw dropping. OK, so I really liked it. I also couldn't stop thinking about how much my sister would have enjoyed it and how much I wished she was there with me. Now that I know about this theater every guest I have will be taking a trip to it for one thing or another!

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