Christopher Wheeldon at the Paax Grupo Milenio Festival

Christopher Wheeldon (UK, 1953), the creative mind who first premiered the ballet version Like chocolate water On Broadway, it was presented in Xcaret Weldon Worlda selection of works that define it, including a fragment of the musical An American in Paris and pieces by Gilly Schwarzman and Carl Jenkins that included intervening Mexican dancers.

His presence at Paax allowed him to share details of the creative process of the Like chocolate waterSince his meeting with the writer Laura Esquivel Until her meeting in New York.

“We decided to go somewhere more abstract to try and capture more of the essence of the things that were important to Laura in the book. One challenge is that they always cook in the movie and we bring that to the balletChristopher explained, through the tables, every scene has a table, and there are seven tables in the ballet, for me it’s important to show that the table is the place of origin where everyone gathers, the place of tradition.

“The biggest challenge was figuring out how to translate history through movement and not be culturally appropriate, There is a great influence of Mexican musicAnd he added, regarding the launch of this story presented by the American Ballet Theater, which arrived a few days ago in the Metropolitan of New York. Opera House.

An artist for everyone

Weldon joined Pax talks, a space within the festival created to learn more about the artists, through conversations with the audience where they share their experiences. The resident choreographer recalled how difficult it was to put together a Michael Jackson musical as a director and choreographer.

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“With Michael Jackson, they wanted something different, and they didn’t just want a tribute concert, they wanted something that explored the art of Michael Jackson. We know all the intricacies of his life story and the storm that surrounded him as a man, but the focus was really on exploring art. Michael understood music as a gathering of intelligence from different sources and then created something so unique and beautiful, it touched everyone in the world.”

You can say what you want about Michael Jackson, but everyone in this room knows him, everyone knows Thriller, and it doesn’t matter where you are in the world. You can be in a small town in Africa that has a radio and there they know Michael Jackson’s music. He’s one of the few artists that touches all of humanity and that’s why I think the show is a success, every night is a connecting moment, it’s really beautiful.”

Weldon World 2 (Photo: Florencia Diaz)

his life’s work

“What an honor to be back here at Xcaret for the Paax Festival My sister and artistic partner, Alondra de la Parra, with the amazing Impossible Orchestra. As choreographers it is our privilege to make music visible, we are the painters of music. “The stories told in Tonight’s Ballet are not true stories, but a landscape we have made for you to imagine,” said Weldon, before the first performance of Tchaikovsky’s piece.

Minutes later, the resident choreographer returns to the stage to present his second piece: “Portrait. The Story of the Great Zhimao,” which he created Jilly Schwarzman.

“I have always been fascinated by the masses and how leaders gain power and how they sell us the ideas they want to sell us; this is the story of a leader who finds a way to manipulate the subconscious,” Jilly Schwarzman explained to the audience.

A quartet of the Joffrey Ballet, which included Mexican dancers, performed The Great Zimo. Anais Bueno and Jose Pablo Castro Cuevas, with Amanda Assocena and Alberto Velazquez. To choreograph the musical for this Pas de Quatre, Weldon called on Japanese Yoshihisa Arai, a graduate of the Royal Ballet School who has roles in companies such as the Paris Opera Ballet and Northern Ballet, to name a few.

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Immediately, Palladio, a musical by Carl Jenkins, did the job Fabricio Ulloathe young Mexican dancer whom Weldon describes as the great promise of ballet, “is 16 years old and won first prize in the Prix de Lausanne ballet competition last January. As you can see here, there is a great future for him. Mexican ballet,” said the choreographer, before To welcome Fabrizio with spontaneous applause.

Weldon World He followed up with a “both of us” piece from Joni Mitchell With orchestration by Gordon Hamilton and choreography by Weldon himself. After a short break, Mexicans Anais Bueno and Jose Pablo Castro Cuevas return to the Salon Diego Theater to present “Passage of the Dukes” I am Karenina; The show concluded with a segment from “An American in Paris” and the participation of dancers Sarah Mearns and Robbie Fairchild.

An American in Paris Based on the movie of the same name and after its Broadway premiere, it won four Tony Awards, including one Best Choreography by Christopher Weldon. Theatrical version starring the Star of New York City Ballet, Robert Fairchildwho worked closely with Weldon, because in addition to being a choreographer, he is also the director of the play, which was a challenge for him, since he had “never worked with actors before,” Christopher Weldon recalled, days before the presentation at the Paax Festival GNP.

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