David Sonnenbluck has given audience a truly enjoyable ballet production – Casanova. One, which at least in Estonian context is as scandalous as the original character himself.
David was concerned over how Estonians would greet the production, with his main concern being the almost complete absence of decorations – besides the historical costumes that in my opinion already functioned as majestic decorations of the stage, the only real piece of decoration was a large mirror.
After taking photos at the rehearsal, I admitted that I was somewhat concerned too over the reaction of the Estonian audience, but not because of the lack of anything.
The overwhelming sensuality of the production presented a lot of man-on-man action, ..a lot. I was not sure whether the audience was ready for Casanova, an infamous (wo)manizer, indulging in sensual poses with another man. I was not sure whether the audience was ready to see the male dancers indulging in sensual poses with other male dancers. I was not sure whether the dancers were strong enough in mind to credibly play it out without the audience sensing any reason to pity them for being forced into ‘unnatural’ situations as employees of the theatre.
Standing ovations are the best sign that all the fears turned out to be unjustified.
The dancers were great and truly believable in their performance. Even though good friends, none of the guys involved in the sensual scenes were gay, so the more I appreciated how comfortable they appeared on stage. Although, as I heard, not everyone agreed to do the man-on-man parts of the performance. I did not dare to ask why exactly.
Obviously, I was overwhelmed by the sensuality on stage, but even so, the whole show was truly magnificent and enjoyable – I had goosebumps throughout most of the show.
Aside from the sensuality that I keep praising, the dancers, whom I have been photographing for about 3 years, seemed to be on a completely new level. As intended by the choreographer, the skimpy costumes unveiled the beauty of the dance and the dancers. I suppose they had some rough times at the rehearsals, but I believe it paid off – with the incredible level of the dance and the whole new way of expressing themselves with their bodies they all looked amazing on stage!!! I don’t think I have really paid attention to hands in other performances, but in this one, even the hands were really expressive and seemed to have a life on their own.
Thanks to David and the dancers and Theatre Vanemuine for the fantastic production! I really love it and I think, even though I really like other ballet productions too, this is the first one that I would like to see again and again and again.
Director, choreographer and costume designer:
David Sonnenbluck, Belgium.
Historical costumes: Mare Tommingas.
Photos taken at rehearsals on March 8th and 9th, 2011.