WORLD PREMIERE OF THE NEWEST CREATION ‘GISELLE’ BY RESIDENT CHOREPGRAPHER DAVID DAWSON
In performance with the German premiere of ‘A Million Kisses to my Skin’
Dresden SemperOper Ballett will proudly present the world premiere of ‘Giselle’, the newest creation by Resident Choreographer David Dawson. Mr Dawson's recent works for Dresden SemperOper Ballett and companies around the world have been met with great acclaim from the audience and outstanding reviews of critics. The Opening Night will take place on Sunday, 9th March, 2008, at 18:00 under the musical direction of David Coleman.
‘Giselle’ - the major production and the highlight of 2007|2008 season - is the first full-length creation of the new company and second work David Dawson has choreographed especially for and on the dancers of Dresden SemperOper Ballett.
‘Giselle or Les Wilis’ was first performed at the Paris Opéra Monday, 28th June, 1841. During the first half of the 19th century the "Romantic Movement" dominated the arts of Europe. Ballet, mysterious and magical for its lack of the spoken word, proved to be an ideal vehicle for the romantic pursuit of the unattainable, questioning the academic rules of the past, stressing individual expression and experimentation, and moving away from classic themes to the inclusion of more local colour, supernatural beings and melodrama. ‘Giselle’ set a new course to romantic ballets offering audiences an escape to a world of mystery, beauty, danger, and death, a vision that stirred the blood of the poetic, as well as the prosaic imaginations. What secures its place as the apex of romantic ballet is that in place of the usual happy ending, in which virtue is rewarded, a tragic death followed by a ghostly resurrection is substituted. For more than 160 years this work is viewed as the undisputed masterpiece of classical romantic ballet and has entered the repertoire of world leading ballet companies, having lost none of its fascination to the present day.
Real love is not ambivalent and it overcomes the limits of time. Uniqueness of ‘Giselle’ has determined this special choice for David Dawson. Both dance and dancers have developed further since the very first creation and the choreographer has set a task to re-experience the magic of emotions of the classical ballet and the real story of pure love through contemporary means of the modern language of dance.
The notions of love, betrayal, forgiveness and sacrifice are eternal, hence David Dawson challenged himself to detach the theme from the conditions of the 19th century and from the behaviour required or expected in the society at that time, and explore the development of the classical story within the frames of its timelessness, watching how the characters would progress from one emotional state to the next. Detailed acting and character building are of paramount importance for this piece.
‘Until now I have always approached my work from an emotional point of view,’ says the choreographer, ‘but never really talked so clearly about love in any of my ballets. Nothing so clear, or so defined. This creation made this possible for me. ... It is a work that tries to explore the idea of love as both the ordinary and the extra-ordinary, and the loss of which remains unforgettable. But this is love that comes with sacrifice and responsibility. As if repeating a belief passed down through the generations, the consequences of the betrayal in Act I are no longer just personal and temporal, but universal and eternal - there will be consequences to the men that human society doesn't enforce and to the female spirits who prey upon them. ... At the end of Gluck's "Iphigenia in Tauris", Iphigenia must choose between revenge and forgiveness. At the beginning of Act II, Giselle faces an afterlife of vengeance and has a similar choice to make that is rooted in a timeless question of classical literature: justice or mercy? Key to any interpretation of one of the greatest female roles of the classical canon is how Giselle makes this choice. For me, she may have become a wili in form, but not in heart. And Albrecht has found his heart by sacrificing hers, Giselle must convince with her total generosity of spirit. She doesn't just save him. By refusing vengeance and remaining true to herself, she saves herself. ... Only in Giselle's death did Albrecht ever feel the emotions of life so purely and passionately. In that single moment, life and death balanced each other, becoming the same thing wrapped in one.’
Over his career as a choreographer, David Dawson increasingly developed his interest in narrative and with this newest work he makes his professional debut in re-creating this story ballet. For Dawson, Giselle and other characters are more young people beautiful in their youthfulness, who live through realities that are comparable with those of the dancers that play them. But not only the story and personalities are taken out of time frames, also the choreographic language of the new creation has its own new stylistics. Exploring the coexistence of the past and present dance techniques, the choreographer suggests his own interpretation of the principles of classical dance within his unique style of movement, in which precision and refinement of classical ballet are woven into the tapestry of unbroken sequence of exquisite combinations in boundless space. The ballet offers great opportunities for the dancers, demanding strong technique and pushing them to their physical limits. It also challenges them to fully reveal their personalities through dramatic artistry, when each of them becomes a mirror of themselves, recognizing the beauty of their own inner truth.
The idea of universality and timelessness has found its reflection and further development on all levels of the new production. During each stage of the creative process David Dawson has been intensely and fruitfully collaborating with his team: conductor David Coleman who has completely re-orchestrated and fully rearranged the original music by Adolphe Adam breathing in fresh sound, thus giving new life to the famous score; set designer Arne Walther, who has created a new, pure and timeless look for the performing space; costume designer Yumiko Takeshima, who has erased class distinctions and accentuated the everlasting simplicity of form and shape; light designer and production manager Bert Dalhuysen, whose concept of contrast has made the space alive and developed the idea of eternal through the mood of the ever-changing sky; and dramaturgical consultant Freya Vass-Rhee, who has elaborated the story line.
For David Dawson, one of today’s most exciting young choreographers, this new work is the highlight of his career up to date. Creating a unique piece with an innovative approach while remaining true to himself in style, nevertheless David Dawson pays his homage to the original choreography displaying the roots of his inspiration.
A Million Kisses to my Skin
The German premiere and new production for Dresden SemperOper Ballett of 'A Million Kisses to my Skin' is at its heart a celebration of dance and the dancer. Created by David Dawson in 2000 for Het Nationale Ballet (Dutch National Ballet), this is a post-classical pure dance work that aims to visualize the baroque style patterns of the Piano Concerto No 1 by J. S. Bach. The stage is full of expansive, extravagantly free-flowing movement that is introduced within tight asymmetric structures that constantly emerge and dissolve, employing a virtuosic vocabulary of movement that displays a dynamic classical action. 'A Million Kisses to my Skin' is elegant and refined, with inventive and fast-moving dance in which classical form and contemporary ambiance become one.
Dresden SemperOper Ballet gratefully acknowledges Stiftung zur Förderung der Semperoper (Foundation for Support of the Semperoper) which provides support for the new work and ballet development.
http://www.semperoper.de/en/ballett/pre ... selle.html