If the intention of the choreographer Jiri Kylian was, as the accompanying booklet claims, to use the Japanese fairytale as a demonstration that men see women only as their property, then the ballet would be a failure. As it is, the moral is simply that it is dangerous for humans to come in contact with celestial powers and extraterrestials. The music of Maki Ishii is - well, Japanese; pianissimo and tender for the moon princess, lots of drumming for the fight scenes, similar to what we hear in Samurai movies, and flutes for the folkloristic parts. The choreography is unsurprising but energetically danced, and I enjoyed particularly the village scenes. The real surprise is the outstanding, highly artistic work of stage designer Michael Simon. Especially his arrangements of lights and colors gives the ballet order, structure, and meaning. The camera angle is not just frontal but moves up and round to let you see the whole stage. A large screen and blu-ray quality is a must to appreciate the combined effect of dance and light, and the camera work. This is not the Brothers Grimm, but if you are interested in Japanese culture you will enjoy the ballet.
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