The Prague performance of the Bubeníček brothers was a long awaited event, which became one of the most interesting guest appearances in this year’s season. With their dancer friends they performed in the historic building of the National Theatre on May 14th – 15th 2009 and they enchanted the Czech audience, which during the brothers’ stay abroad came to regard them almost as a legend.
The cooperation of the two brothers is not based merely on their joint appearances on the stage. What it comprises of especially is the preparation of performances, from the choreographic and musical aspects through staging preparation. The evening’s dramaturgy presented the audience with eleven shorter choreographies, nine of which featured Jiří Bubeníček as the choreographer. Otto, on the other hand, focuses mainly on music arrangement and the composition.
The program which was prepared for the Prague audience can be described as works of dance, in which movement forms the basis of action, and which draw upon the language of classical dance, however with a very original treatment. As if we were allowed to peek into a laboratory, where new dance software is being developed, with its possibilities reaching yet another level. There are no movement clichés to be seen, which even more accentuates the impression from great dancing. All of the guests (Bridget Breiner, Arman Grigoryan, Vahe Martirosyan, Yen Han, Jón Vallejo, Elena Vostrotina, Katherina Markowskaya, Arsen Mehrabyan) are first soloists of various foremost Swiss and German ballet ensembles Dresden, Hamburg, Zurich, Stuttgart and this concentration of names is truly powerful.
The evening was opened by a short retrospective video, authored by Otto, which presented scenes from the studio at the Prague conservatory and childhood photos of both brothers. The first choreography by both brothers to music of J.S. Bach was more conventional in appearance; at the same time it was its world premiere. Double Violin Concerto allowed the convention of classical music to resound in classical dance style and to emphasize the perfection of technique in jumps and pirouettes.
Fragile Vessels (S. Rachmaninov), Trio (music J. S. Bach, choreography Heinz Spoerli) and Rencontre (music E. Cooper) were two lyrical trios and a duet, all of them stunning thanks to the atmosphere which resembled abstract crystal-glass jewellery. In contrast, the two duets from the Unerreichbare Orte ballet very clearly dealt with partner relationships: love and hatred.
The only solo of the evening was charmingly relaxing variation Simple Pleasure by Arsen Mehrabyan. He also danced in the very dynamic yet still classic choreography Duet in C, for which Otto Bubeníček composed the music and which – in the same way as the modern Forsyth-like duet of Elena Vostrotina and Jón Vallejo Unintended Consequences – became a demonstration of fraternal collaboration with an easily recognizable style.
In his composition, Jiří Bubeníček also found inspiration in the music of Bohuslav Martinů and his Otvírání Studánek (The Opening of the Springs). Czech music by a Czech author was perhaps intended as some kind of a confession, but unfortunately Martinů’s music together with live interpretation by the Orchester Berg was so strong, that the trio of dancers Jiří Bubeníček, Otto Bubeníček and Bridget Breiner could hardly balance it with their dance which was leading in a different direction. Moreover, the projection of pictures with rural motives and pathetic verses about returning home definitely tore the connection between dance and music. A little straying from the way.
Nevertheless, the entire program had two absolutely unforgettable moments. At the end of the first part of the evening it was the choreography Canon in D major (music O. Bubeníček and J. Pachenbel). Again the trio of both brothers and Jón Vallejo. The beauty of male dance, which was gradually changing in rota through minimalist gestures to dynamic swirl of all three dancers, carried the audience into utter ecstasy.
The charisma of the dancers, which emanated to the audience from the stage, was even multiplied during the final piece of the evening. The work by Claude Brumachom felt as if it were created for both twins, although it was not so. The desire to leave and the desire to stay. Sharp positions of arms mutually intersecting, bodies affecting each other by almost magnetic gravity. Perfection of detail in the minutest of movements. The tension was ever-present and Les Indomptés, followed breathlessly by the audience, became the ultimate climax of the whole program.
Presented:14th and 15th May 2009, The National Theatre