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The Fiddle and the Drum   Print

by Nilan Perera
Exclaim.ca
March 5, 2009

This performance is the result of the collaboration between Mitchell's songs, both old and new, and the choreography of Jean Grande-Maitre of the Alberta Ballet Company. It is the story of a world in conflict and stress, and the suffering this entails. The subject matter caused some sponsors to withdraw their support but the artists kept going and for that they deserve much respect. It is readily apparent that Mitchell's extraordinary words and music are well suited to ballet's lyrical form but the most frustrating thing is to watch the bargain not being held up or matched by the dance. The choreography is predictable in its unwavering dedication to all the ballet clich├ęs of extraneous athleticism and a simplistic following of rhythms. Although there is plenty of room to create variety, since the programme is presented as a song-to-song series of tableaux, the opportunity to present some sort of dynamism is never realized and the narrative is lost. The result is that after about the fourth song, you get the feeling that you're in for a series of reiterations and by the end, you realise you were right. (Koch)

 

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