Three pieces with classical ballet technique in focus are presented in a triple bill entitled Without Limits by the Hungarian National Ballet at the OPERA's Eiffel Art Studios on 22 April 2022. Beside The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude by William Forsythe and Études by Harald Lander, Paquita Suite is a new addition to the company repertoire adapted by ballet director Tamás Solymosi alongside ballet masters Albert Mirzoyan and Irina Prokofieva.
There are few classic choreographies with as many versions created and danced to this day as Paquita Suite. The original two-act French feature ballet was choreographed by Joseph Mazilier to the music of Édouard Delvedez, and the dance-loving audience of Paris could see it on the stage of the opera house for the first time in 1846. Ever since the revival in Russia in 1882 by Marius Petipa, who made additions to the piece, it has used as many variations and solos, including additions from external sources, as dreamed up by the choreographer of the given production. In fact, a unique attribute of the piece is that the performing dancers often determine the numbers to dance or even perform choreographies prepared specifically for them.
“The staging of such a crystal clear classic is always a huge challenge for a company – no wonder there are not many who would take the risk”, states Tamás Solymosi, the artistic director of the Hungarian National Ballet, who is not only one of the choreographers who have prepared their own version of the Paquita Suite, but he coordinates the work of the other two choreographers, Irina Prokofieva (former dancer of the Mariinsky Theatre) and Albert Mirzoyan (also a former dancer at the Mariinsky Theatre, later ballet master in St Petersburg and Vienna). For the Budapest premiere, the three choreographers aim to include numerous variations for male dancers in the suite that traditionally focuses on female variations. In the Grand Pas of the original ballet, Petipa wrote a mazurka and a polonaise for children, which is also preserved in the Hungarian choreography. Therefore, students of the Hungarian National Ballet Institute also appear in the production featuring spectacular sets by Oleg Molchanov and wonderful costumes by Nóra Rományi. Cast includes the best of the company: Tatiana Melnik, Aliya Tanykpayeva, Elena Sharipova, Gergő Ármin Balázsi, and Valerio Palumbo.
In the rest of the programme, two pieces return to the repertoire. The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude by William Forsythe, set to the energetic fourth movement of Schubert's Symphony No. 9 fuses classical ballet with dynamic movements to explore the physical limits of the dancers. In Études by Harald Lander, the subject is the technique of classical ballet itself: the school, the everyday training, and the assessment of understanding and skill, thus, the viewers are initiated to the process how a ballet exercise is constructed and comes to life on stage.