Jirí Kylián’s Black & White Ballets

Image Entertainment

There are six captivating ballets here—five serious and several involving intricate swordplay. Get this for the hilarious “Six Dances,” set to Mozart’s German Dances, however. In choreography that draws from Harpo Marx and the Three Stooges as much as from Diaghilev’s 1920s cubist style, brilliant, athletic dancing seamlessly melds traditional ballet with modern dance and vaudeville slapstick. There’s no plot, but the undercurrent is an 18th-century parody: Clown-faced men in dusty powered wigs duel, dance and prance through court intrigues, pursuing clown-faced ladies who entice or are terrified by the goofy dada goings-on. Pas de deux dovetails into rag-doll limbs akimbo, and pirouettes lead to cartoon-like frog bounces. Dancers slide while swords swipe, wigs flip, bubbles fall and double takes take all. Brilliant!