It is a terrible thing to be sentimental.

It is excellent and no doubt hopelessly useful to experience the full range of emotions, but does anyone really want to?

Now let’s talk about something random like partnering.

Disclaimer: What the audience sees may or may not be what reality is.

Lifting and turning people, being lifted and turned – all that sounds hard. Sometimes, there’s a subconscious pause or expression – sometimes there’s a joy. Sometimes I write things about ballet partners my friends and I have watched, and if I write something objectively, I mean it objectively (voila, strength). I may not talk about the other stuff, things seen – conscious, unconscious.

But sometimes, the sentimental side gets in the way and talks.

I’ve said I want to watch Shostakovich and Winds of Zephyrus again. For a gazillion reasons, some of them sentimental. One of the reasons is that Zhao Jun and Uchida Chihiro make such a very good pair. Zhao Jun is a steady, efficient partner to Chihiro, and sometimes when you watch them you get the sense that there’s a bit of telepathy – he’s always watching out for where she is, he’s right there to catch her and turn her just right, and she’s comfortable in his arms, and she’s right there at the correct moment as well, for him to hold. There’s a zing in the chemistry not necessarily just of style, but also of timing. It’s perfect. There was a slight wardrobe issue one night in Winds, wherein the slender wisp of a skirt unwound itself, and when Zhao Jun’s portion was done, he set Chihiro down, picked up the skirt perfectly normally, and ran offstage with it held aloft so it flew like a banner in the wind, and if it weren’t a skirt that had fallen off partway, you’d imagine that was intentional, when it was just uber quick thinking. And Chihiro continued wonderfully in her solo piece, whisking herself about as if there was a wind-swept skirt about her hips. You wouldn’t have noticed otherwise. They are professionals!

I have said things at length about Rosa Park and Chen Peng in other posts. Of course it’s all hard work (I haven’t any idea how, this is imagination at work) before you see the slick and sharp moments when he lets her slide forward and pulls her back sharply by the wrist; and all the things that make a dance partnership a partnership and not a couple of units; or two (or one!!) very good soloist(s).

Sometimes you get a couple of dancers who are simply in the zone – and I don’t necessarily mean pas de deux only. In my limited experience, offhand I am thinking of Maughan Jemesen with Elaine Heng in Don Q as Kitri’s friends – fabulously in beat, having a wonderful time. Or Zhao Jun and Bi Ru (and Elaine Heng) in Napoli – good cheer and jolly spirits.

Another example: Yorozu Kensuke and Maughan Jemesen as Bluebird and Princess Florine – an occasion when the pair became greater than the sum of their parts. I did see them dance together in something else (Bournonville, before the cast swaps) and again, they were absolutely in sync.

One other partnership that has happened extremely briefly, but enough for my friends to comment on, is between Lewis Gardner and Li Jie. They’ve got quite a similar style, in a way – a sort of liquid grace, perhaps because of long limbs and particular emphasis on certain things, I don’t know; and a friend noted that they look fine together. There isn’t any apprehension – perhaps there’s a sort of connection, in fact. That’s what it looks like onstage, anyway.

Of course there are other pairs that look good too – just to mention a few – Kenya and Chihiro, Etienne Ferrere and Alison Carroll, Etienne and Chihiro, Yorozu Kensuke and Tanaka Nanase (Blue Snow), Timothy Coleman and Heidi Zolker (and I think a friend was mentioning yesterday: in Fearful Symmetries, Timothy Coleman and Chen Peng, in an unexpected, manly, holding-on-to-each-other-and-take-turns-to-leap scene).

Sentimentality! It kills the heart.


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