Double treat from Greek National Opera Ballet

You can trace the gorgeous melodies all the way to the rehearsal hall. At the Greek National Opera Ballet’s dance studios on Pireos Street, the company has developed a fresh new program – the production opens at the Olympia Theater tonight. To begin with, the production features Richard Strauss’s «Four Last Songs.» Amid dim lights, two dancers, a man and a woman, are locked in an embrace. He lifts her up in the air, then brings her back to the ground where her legs unfold in a perfect arabesque. Leading 20th-century Dutch dancer and choreographer Rudy van Dantzig came to Athens to work with the dancers on one of his landmark works. At the rehearsal studios, he is guiding the young interpreters with the help of former Greek National Opera Ballet prima ballerina Synthia Frida. It’s a beautiful moment. Strauss’s music creates a unique atmosphere. This is a reflection on death, which van Dantzig has turned into a love poem. This is ballet with a soul: Four couples are separated by a messenger of death, while death is presented as part of the life cycle. At the end of the corridor – as in the second part of the evening at the Olympia Theater tonight – lies something entirely different. Talk about colors. Choreographed by Pierre Tavernier, «Baroque ‘n’ Roll» is based on music by Jean-Philippe Rameau. During rehearsals, the dancers fervently discuss matters with the choreographer; they seem to be enjoying every single minute. The production features baroque costumes and 1960s wigs. Three women are after the same man: There is conflict, laughter and suspense. Tavernier, the artistic director of the [email protected] troupe, based «Baroque ‘n’ Roll» on Rameau’s «Les Indes galantes» (1735) and «Les fetes d’Hebe» (1739). «Four Last Songs» and «Baroque ‘n’ Roll» are on stage at the Greek National Opera’s Olympia Theater (59-61 Academias, tel 210.361.-2461/364.3725) tonight, tomorrow, Saturday, Sunday, and January 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 29, 30 and 31.