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McGregor: Going Somewhere & A Moment in Time [The Royal Ballet] Blu-ray Review

Posted March 23rd, 2014 by Lawrence D. Devoe, MD

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The Film

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Wayne McGregor, the highly regarded chief choreographer of the Royal Ballet, is the subject of this documentary by Catherine Maximoff. Going Somewhere becomes an intimate and probing examination of the creative process that is choreography. McGregor has worked with both the Royal Ballet and Random Dance companies and this film has several scenes that alternate actual rehearsals and the “inspiration,” “cognition,” and “perception,” bases for his original dance routines. Also included is a 30-minute film, A Moment in Time, that shows sequences from several of McGregor’s earlier ballets, Limen, Dyad 1909, and Qualia, as performed by members of both of his companies.

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Having reviewed a 2011 Blu-ray disc of McGregor works, Three Ballets: Chroma, Infra, Limen, I was quite familiar with his signature style of dance, blending spectacular physicality with some of the familiar steps of classical dance. Working with troupes of superb dancers who can accommodate to the incredible physical demands of these ballets, the finished products are truly fabulous to behold.

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Director Maximoff pulls off the challenging task of watching an artist at work, and at close quarters, without having her cameras get in the way of the story. For those who are not familiar with this modern-day genius of the dance, Wayne McGregor: Going Somewhere and A Moment in Time, will provide a great introduction.

Video Quality

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This is a fairly monochromatic film with most of the colors coming from the costumes and the faces of the dancers. The ballet coverage is well done with surprisingly little motion artifact. Details are nicely captured and, in the documentary, we get a very up close and personal look at the creative process aided by excellent camera work.

Audio Quality

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The sound track is clear but rather flat two-channel LPCM, a bit surprising for a recent release. Of course, the only music is the very modern tracks for the performance film and these are adequately conveyed.

Supplemental Materials

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Given that the ballet performances are considered an extra when these would form the highlights for most viewers, this is a generous supplement. A program booklet with a commentary on McGregor and his ballets is included.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

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It is fascinating to watch an artist at work, particularly a choreographer, as he gets the inspiration for creating the dance steps that will form the ballets under consideration. McGregor appears to communicate extremely well with his dancers and as we see each routine take shape, we get a very good impression of how challenging it can be to translate instruction into action. Those who enjoy contemporary ballet will find that these films offer an engaging view of the ballet business and those involved with performance. For viewers wishing to get more McGregor, I can safely recommend the above-mentioned Three Ballets Blu-ray that has the added advantage of providing complete ballets captured by glorious videography.

Additional Screen Captures

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