Saturday, August 13, 2016

"Old Women Falling Out" 2007 Ratmansky ballet

I found this video of Ratmansky's "Old Women Falling Out" or "Tumbling Old Women" on youtube. The music is a song cycle by Desyatnikov, his "Love and Life of a Poet," which is itself based on a selection of poetry by the absurdist poets Nikolai Oleynikov and Daniel Kharms (active in the late 20s and early 30s). This is at least the second time Ratmansky has used a song cycle by Desyatnikov, the other being his "Russian Seasons" (2006). "Lost Illusions", also with Desyatnikov music, contains choral work as well.

"Old Women Falling Out" was created in 2007 for a more experimental program at the Bolshoi for new choreography, and it shows. It's delightfully quirky, but in an intelligent way. Innovating on ballet vocabulary is not the focus here which is something of a departure. My guess is that he's using the poems as a guide, but in a more theatrical way. (The poem I found online, "The Old Woman," by Kharms, is about a young man who can't bring his sweetheart home because an old woman has died in his apartment; the section of the ballet with this title has an old woman in a grotesque mask fighting with a couple.) Wish I were Russian and knew these poems.

The ballet is presented here complete, and Ratmansky and his wife Tatiana make appearances as well. Definitely worth a view for Ratmansky super-fans.