Saturday, November 11, 2017

Day 245 4x4 Ephemeral Architectures -Ballet and Juggling-Beautifully Intimate

Juggling  and ballet is not something that  you often experience  together but renowned juggler, Sean Gandini and Royal Ballet dancer, Ludovic  Ondiviela combined their talents in the show, 4x4 Ephemeral Architectures  at Wilson Center recently.   This show continues to  receive rave reviews since it opened in 2015 at the London International Mime Festival.  Luckily, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust  brought this merger of two different art forms to Pittsburgh.   I thought that this would be my first contemporary  circus experience but this was something much better- something beautifully intimate!   

When art forms collide sometimes you just experience  a brand new entity- like (Day 240 )where classical violin united with  hip hop in Black Violin or  (Day 175) where bagpipes united with rock music  in Red Hot Chili Pipers. It’s like mixing two different breeds of  dogs, you end up with something entirely new!
Meeting Sean Gandini 

Four jugglers and four ballet dancers emerged out of a foggy haze as if to represent the birth of something new and it sure was! The combination of both fit together like pieces of a puzzle as they shared the space in an intimate manner.  This was no circus act but  a masterful work of art (watch here).

Gandini  choreographed the juggling  to  match the beauty of ballet. As he put it, “Juggling and ballet  both work in time and space, so my initial thought  was to put them together …ballet has a sense of classicism and beauty, there is a right and wrong, and juggling does not have that, so I was  intrigued to imagine that in juggling…”.  

The show gave juggling the  precision and structure usually reserved for ballet. The juggling mimicked the dance or did the dance mimic the movement of the juggling? It was hard to tell because they were intertwined (Gandini explains here).

The movement was performed with  original chamber music which set the backdrop for the show’s “classicism”. I particularly enjoyed the fluidity of the continued pin rolling  on the stage as the dancers, fitting on the jugglers backs, moved their arms with the pins. The dancers shadowed  the motion of the pins. It was like watching the rolling of a wave which relaxed and mesmerized.  

Pin rolled as arms mimicked- memorizing

In one piece, both juggler and dancer were paired as if they were in a graceful ballet adagio. Their arms either juggling or dancing flowed through each others’ space. I don’t think the English language has a word to describe it but  to me, it was all so ”beautifully intimate” ! 

 I will never think of juggling in that same way again after this show. I intend to continue to  explore the  unique shows that the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust brings to the city.

(To see what is  next  go to or to see Gandini  shows on tour  clink here.)  

 Spiritual Reflection
Under his direction, the whole  body is fitted together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, It helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love (Ephesians 4:16)

 Other Sources 
Sean Gandini explains show
4x4 Ephemeral Architectures 
Pittsburgh Cultural Trust