With bated breath…

As a fan of the Spanish-born Tamara Rojo, I was curious to see the well-known, delicate and innocent Aurora I watched in January, facing and performing such an aggressive role in Roland Petit’s Le Jeunne Homme et la Mort. With no hesitation I can confirm that the performance fulfilled every high expectation that I had.

Photography by David Jensen

The title of the evening bill “Ecstasy and Death” definitely lived up to what ensued. Nicolas Le Riche incarnates Ecstasy itself: I should therefore highlight not only his impressive technique and quick jumps that seem to be suspended, frozen in mid-air; but also the true connection that he established with the audience. The way Le Riche assimilated the character that evening, making the audience feel his obsessions, madness and desperation, his interpretation was worthy of Baryshnikov himself.

Rojo demonstrated her personal charisma with a feline sensuality; electric and cruel, with an impish smile that took the audience through a loop of temptation and eroticism, which culminated unpredictably in suicide. Rojo characterised death itself, an old friend that tortures and taunts the young man leading into madness.

This masterpiece is different from the rest of the programme; it is not something pleasant to the eye. Its beauty does not lie in righteous actions and expressions of love, but rather in the discomfort arising from watching it. Rojo and Le Riche were perfectly able to situate the audience in a distressing atmosphere that, without notice, gradually increased in frenetic desperation. Le Riche twitched uncontrollably, sweating and losing his mind, creating a palpable, claustrophobic tension until the fireworks of the climactic finale, his hanging. Both of them are dynamite on stage and it is clear they are in their element.

Alejandra Benet