Posted by: viewfromtheriva | May 19, 2015

Split Ballet’s sexy, powerful Streecar is a tour de force


We always look forward to the Split Ballet at the National Theatre here in Split. Last week they premiered Dinko Bogdanic’s 2005 version of Tennesee Williams’ 1947 Pulitzer Prize winning play, A Streetcar Named Desire–later made into a film by Elia Kazan that catapulted Marlon Brando into stardom as Stanley Kowalski.

Elena Nikolaeva as Blanche Dubois and Mircea Munteanu

Elena Nikolaeva as Blanche DuBois and Mircea Munteanu as Stanley Kowalski were stunning as the lead soloists 

Streetcar was a shocker when it premiered in 1947.  America had just won the war and the country was getting back to work and life and the world was looking a whole lot better.  Streetcar saw a different world full of raw sexual power, harrowing emotional turmoil and forbidden love.  With such explosive material, the challenge for the choreographer is keeping it all under control so the dancers can express the lust as well as the longing.

Streetcar 2Using minimalist sets and chiaroscuro lighting, supported by edgy music by composer Mladen Tarbuk, Streetcar unfolded slowly, with Blanch on her hospital bed, seemingly innocent.  But soon, arms come from under the bed, spreading her legs and then, wearing only underpants, the soldiers who Blanche “entertained” swarm all over her letting us see her in a completely different light.  Elena Nikolaeva was spellbinding–revealing a depth of passion, remorse, confusion and ectasy through her movement as well as her face.  She was Blache DuBois.  And watching Mircea Munteanu ravage her was brutally honest dancing–a dazzling marriage of the modern and classical.  Bogdanic must have been thrilled to have such talent to work with.  Special mention must also be given to Remus Dimache, as Blanche’s gay husband.  I have never seen him dance better! And Lev Saposnikov as his older lover was also wonderful. This is not ballet that makes you smile. The whole piece is over in just an hour.  We in the audience are as emotionally drained as the dancers.  And that;s how it should be.  I can’t imagine anything this extraordinary company can’t do with absolute brilliance.  Bravo!

Streetcar l

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