Review: Helikopter and Eldorado, Playhouse

After their stunning performance of And then, one thousand years of peace earlier this week, Ballet Preljocaj had a lot to live up to.

After their stunning performance of And then, one thousand years of peace earlier this week, Ballet Preljocaj had a lot to live up to.

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Enjoyment of double-bill Helikopter and Eldorado, however, had as much to do with how you respond to the music of Karlheinz Stockhausen as to the choreography of Angelin Preljocaj.

The sound of helicopter blades cut through the silence, matched by rotating lights on stage. As the six dancers entered, sharp white lines stretched from one side of the floor to the other, dissipating as the dancers’ feet touched them. Soon, the lights changed to circular patterns, dissolving like ripples on a pond. A stunning visual device, that flowed perfectly with Preljocaj’s movement.

Yet for those who found Stockhausen’s score almost ear-blisteringly abrasive, as I did, Helikopter brought about conflicting emotions. Preljocaj is incapable of choreographing a dull step, so the desire for him to keep going is strong. Yet the relief that came about when those blades finally stopped whirring was undeniable.

With Eldorado, Stockhausen demanded slightly less of us. Whilst still challenging, the music had a quality that leant itself to dance, and Preljocaj responded to each bend and weave with real intuitiveness.

Standing against white walls, 12 dancers were surrounded by tiny dots of light, a floral design acting like a halo around their heads. As they moved into the space, the spirited individuality of Preljocaj’s dancers shone through.