Far more than circuses featuring impressive acrobatics, Cirque du Soleil's live and filmed shows are powerful presentations that seamlessly combine daring acrobatic feats, intense artistry, and simple, yet emotionally rich stories. Worlds Away is a stunning compilation of acts from seven Las Vegas shows: O, Kà, Mystère, Criss Angel Believe, Zumanity, Viva Elvis, and The Beatles Love. The disparate acts are woven together by a poignantly romantic story of a young woman who falls into an ethereal world searching for a man she's only glimpsed, but is destined to love. The film showcases everything from synchronised water ballet to martial arts-inspired combat, aerial silk acrobatics, contortionism, and the frightening Wheel of Death. Each impeccably choreographed presentation is absolutely breathtaking in its beauty and its seeming defiance of the laws of the human body's capabilities. Viewers will leave the film feeling awed, uplifted, and completely inspired. --Tami Horiuchi
Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, performed at the Mariinsky Theatre by the Artists of the Mariinsky Ballet and the Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre, and conducted by Valery Gergiev.
Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games - a spectacular new staging of the traditional masterpiece; a magical adventure of sight and sound that transports its audience to a mythical time and place lifting the spirits and capturing the hearts of all who experience it. Based on Irish folklore this classic tale of Good vs. Evil expressed through the universal language of dance has thrilled audience's worldwide and catapulted Irish dance to a new dimension and unprecedented worldwide acclaim. With all the visceral precision and thrills of the original Lord Of The Dance: Dangerous Games features new staging new costumes and choreography and 40 of the world's most outstanding young performers directed by Michael Flatley. With new music by composer Gerard Fahy this latest iteration combines the best of tradition with all the excitement of new music and dance!
Aram Khachaturian's Spartacvu The Bolshoi Ballet. Performed by Soloists and Corps de ballet of The Bolshoi Theatre Of Russia.
George Balanchine's Jewels performed by Opera national de Paris and directed by Gerard Mortier.
The multi-award-winning dance film Amelia (2002) explores the use of point technique using extended intertwining solos, complex partnering sequences and extreme speed to generate powerful performances with unexpected moments of tender emotion and serenity. Edouard Lock uses intricate choreography for both camera and dancers, creating amazing and constantly shifting points of view. Trademark performances, brilliant and relentless, combined with the delicate sensual lighting of Andr? Turpin and the minimalist environment of a giant wooden box with rounded forms that seems to have no exit, create a disturbingly exquisite and moving experience. The original score, written by David Lang for violin, cello, piano and voice, combines evocative minimalism with lyrics from five of Lou Reed's most famous works, created in the 60s for The Velvet Underground.
This performance of George Balanchine's ballet A Midsummer Night's Dream was filmed live at Sadler's Wells Theatre, London, in February 1999 and won the award for "Best Television Realisation of a Stage Production" at IMZ Dance Screen. The music is from Mendelssohn's youthful overture plus later theatre music, and five other pieces by the composer all selected by the great Russian choreographer Balanchine in 1962. In a fine ensemble cast, Paul Gibson as Oberon and Patricia Barker as Titania are suitably aloof, at least until the latter dances with the ass Bottom (Timothy Lynch) in a highlight of touching comedy. After all the quarrelsome entanglements of the first act, the finale ensures celebration and richly deserved happy endings all round. The simple sets have a picturesque charm, the costumes a fairytale glamour and the large cast, including many children, dance with flair and enthusiasm; this is clearly one production where everyone was having a fine time. In fact it is rather more enjoyable than Hollywood's A Midsummer Night's Dream of the same year. Ballet aficionados may also want to explore the BBC's wonderful Coppélia (2000). On the DVD: There are no special features on the disc, but the 12-page booklet is entirely in English and is well presented, offering track and cast lists, a synopsis and notes on Balanchine, Mendelssohn and the creative talents and directors of the Pacific Northwest Ballet. The sound is atmospheric--Dolby Digital 5.0--and the anamorphically enhanced 16:9 image is good, though slightly soft, and does occasionally reveal some compression artefacting. In defiance of regional encoding regulations, not only is this DVD region free, but includes the normal PAL UK television system programme material on one side and on the reverse includes the same content in NTSC format, suitable for American playback. Anyone curious to see if one format is better will find that the UK PAL transfer contains just a little more picture detail. --Gary S Dalkin
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake performed by Opera National de Paris and directed by Gerard Mortier.
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