AfterLight (Part One) is a solo created for Daniel Proietto by Russell Maliphant.
The 15 minutes piece was first shown as part of the 2009 Sadler’s Wells program In the Spirit of Diaghilev, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Ballet Russes.
The inspiration for AfterLight was taken from photographs of the Russian dancer Vaslav Nijinsky during his time with the Ballets Russes as well as his own geometric drawings and paintings using circular designs. These provided a starting point for Maliphant’s exploration of flow and energy in the dance movement and the old faded photographs are almost present in the monochromatic lighting and fragile texture created through the use of animations projected over the dancer and the stage.
AfterLight (Part One) received a nomination for the 2010 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production and was awarded the Critics’ Circle National Dance Award for Best Modern Choreography 2010.
Dance Europe ranked Proietto number 1, among 170 international start, as the most outstanding performance of 2009. Proietto was also awarded a UK Critics’ Circle National Dance award for outstanding male modern dancer and has been listed as one of the 100 best international dance artists by Dance Europe the following year.
The much acclaimed work was listed in the highlights of 2009 by The Telegraph, The Daily Express and again in 2010 by The Observer,
The BBC has broadcast the piece that has since its premiered toured extensively the world and various essays about the work has been published since its premiered.
Photos by Elliott Franks
Created with and Performed by Daniel Proietto
Choreographer: Russell Maliphant
Lighting Designer: Michal Hulls
Video Animation Designer: Jan Urbanowski
Costume Designer: Stevie Stewart
Sound Designer: Andy Cowton
Collaborative Assistant: Dana Fouras
Music: Eric Satie, Gnossiennes 1-4
Played By Dustin Gledhill
Original Concept Created With Es Devlin
Animation Produced By Onedotzero Industries
Produced by Sadler's Wells 2009
Daniel Proietto by Elliott Franks
“Proietto is superb at every moment, the dance curling or racing through his body, drawing lingering whorls of movement on the retina. He is a fine artist, finely used in Maliphants fascinating dances.”
“Apparently, Channel 4 is going to give up the seemingly endless list of List shows (you know the sort of thing, The 50 Greatest Comedy Falls etc) that have become standard Bank Holiday slumber fare for as long as I can remember. It’s a shame in one sense because the Big Brother broadcaster never got around to “The 50 Greatest Images in Dance”. If they had have done, there is no doubt that the countdown would have brought us to the most beautiful, magical sight of Daniel Proietto softly spinning in pools of dappled light; and it would have been a travesty for me had this not been at number one. On the mountain of exquisite moments in dance, Proietto’s long opening solo to the four Gnossiennes by Eric Satie, stands out like the flag firmly planted on the peak.
Proietto seems to be a man without ordinary feet that have to be lifted and placed in order for his body to move; I’ve never seen a person spin on a dry stage as if a skater on ice (oh, it’s possible for a pirouette, or maybe a pair, but not sustained across so many minutes, in varying permutations of speeds and angles of spin – and with such sensitive musicality). This young dancer from Argentina won the 2010 National Dance Award for Outstanding Performance in modern dance for this role; and had it been for a decade’s-worth of performances instead of one year, it would have been just as deserved (not forgetting, of course, that Maliphant also won an NDA for his choreography of this solo).”
“One can't take one's eyes off Nijinsky’s reincarnation, Daniel Proietto.
He reaches for the heavens, yet is centred, trapped, in the spotlight. He strips away his hat and red top, and the flower image is gone, tossed away. He is a zephyr… swirling like the wind, fluid like water… Liquefied movement. He is all of the elements. Ethereal yet grounded.
A subtle distilled essence of dance from the past and present brought to life by Daniel Proietto - it is his evening, as the audience acknowledge. Swift, supple, delicate, graceful and strong, he is irresistible. And entrancing.”
"Maliphant has one dancer turning and spinning like a mobile caught on a breeze, in the light of the dying sun. Dreamy, romantic, pure movement exploring space to the very fingertips fluttering like butterflies under Michael Hulls' dust-flecked dim sculpting spotlight. Arms tasselling, torso yielding to Satie's Gnossiennes, Nijinsky is captured in a simple concept. Daniel Proietto is the Spectre de la Rose, is the Slave, is Petrushka, is le faune. Beautiful."
"Mesmerising: Daniel Prioetto in Russell Maliphant's luminous 'AfterLight'
Memorable for all the right reasons is AfterLight by Russell Maliphant, who has reworked the free-flowing illustrations of Diaghilev's first muse, Nijinsky, into a spiralling solo in which his ballet-meets-capoeira steps, Daniel Proietto's dancing, Michael Hulls's lighting and Eric Satie's Gnossiennes melt into a spellbinding whole. The piece poignantly captures the remote, faun-like aura of Nijinsky, evoking a mesmerising individual not quite of this world. A miniature masterpiece."
"Hulls has defined a ravishing arena of light in which Daniel Proietto tremendously, subtly turns and swoops, his movements shaped by the whorls of Nijinsky’s lines. The effect is obsessive, revealing, true to Maliphant’s manner and to Nijinsky’s imagery."
"Following this was the spectacular ‘AfterLight,’ choreographed by Russell Maliphant and danced by Daniel Proietto. Under spotlight, Daniel stunned the audience with the immense power and energy of his dance, as he swirled round and round and round. The rhythm and energy was reminiscent of the marshal art, capoeira. "
"Dancing to Satie’s “Gnossiennes” Proietto was sublime as he flowed, circled and twisted in harmony with the patterns of light and shadow on stage. Even sitting close up you could not hear a sound even when he jumped or went to the floor. It was such a simple idea, yet stunningly realised, and easily the most memorable work on the programme. It really did seem as if Proietto was the sketch come to life."
"Next was Russell Maliphant’s AfterLight, as inspired by a Nijinsky drawing of a dancer (see left). Set to Erik Satie’s Gnossiennes, the choreography builds on the interplay between light and dancer Daniel Proietto. He moves in circles creating forms that fuse with the patterns of light and shadow reflected on the floor. Lighting designer Michael Hull’s brilliant work emphasizes the flowing movement which starts from the dancers’ extremities and propagates to swirls of light surrounding him, in a sea of clouds. This visually stunning live realisation of Nijinsky’s sketch was the most applauded and (at least in my opinion) the most memorable choreography of the evening."
"Russell Maliphant created a solo for the wonderful dancer Daniel Proietto (a name in the making)."
"But it is brilliant dancer Daniel Proietto who perfectly embodies the chaos and harmony in Nijinsky's inevitable downward spiral. Somehow Proietto breaths endless shades of heartbreaking emotion into an apparently repetitive dance language. What a great performer."
“After all the fuss about Sergei Polunin abruptly leaving the Royal Ballet, guess who stole the Men in Motion show? Daniel Proietto, in the AfterLight solo Russell Maliphant made for him in 2010. Admittedly, you could read the 15-minute solo as a warning of the fate awaiting a troubled dancer deprived of the support of a company of colleagues – if you know your Nijinsky. But for those unaware of the inspiration for the piece (created for a Diaghilev tribute), Proietto’s performance was none the less magnificent.”
“Although the star attraction, Polunin was by no means the only star turn. In fact everyone was cast into the shade by Daniel Proietto’s career-defining Afterlight solo. It has mesmerised me before and remains awe-inspiring. People usually glide in a linear direction, as in a slide, but Proietto glides in a spin: or rather, in hundreds of spins; an epic marathon of twists and turns, swivelling as if on rollers, to the four Gnossiennes of Eric Satie. Never has this over-used music found such an empathetic visualisation as Proietto’s slight and anonymous frame slices through the superb mottled down-lighting designed by Michael Hulls. Russell Maliphant is a genius to have made this work, which plays on his interpretation of Nijinsky’s swirling drawings by emphasising the choreographer’s passion to explore that same potential in the body’s torsion. But for all of Maliphant’s inspiration, I’m finding it impossible to imagine any other dancer doing it justice.”
"AfterLight is a sustained solo for the fine dancer Daniel Proietto, who moves with a wonderful fluidity. He revolves on a spot in a pool of light, his arms making all those arcs and circles; he turns like a spiral; the arms reach up, or spread; hand trails behind head. Everything is a continuous flow. Then, on his knees, he is circling round the stage, scooping the air, whirling ever faster. He seems to carve his own shape out of the darkness. Untypically, Maliphant has used a classical score, Satie’s limpid, otherworldly Gnossiennes, and all the elements fit together in a superb piece."
"Russell Maliphant's Afterlight, danced to Satie piano music, is the finest thing here, a solo inspired by Nijinsky's geometric drawings. Daniel Proietto spins in the spotlight, a pool of light turning under his feet. His spins so smoothly that he seems to be on a turntable, whirling in dappled, circular patterns. When he crosses the stage, light blooms under his feet, spreading across the stage like cloud shadows, or ink in water. It's Maliphant's best work in ages."
"Russel Maliphant’s interpretation of Diaghilev’s work in AfterLight is focused on bodywork – on the sense of flow, the energy of movement, and the arcs and circles drawn by Vaslav Nijinsky to represent abstract figures (Nijinsky danced with Diaghilev from 1909 to 1912). Working with light (and using computer technology for animation) he unveils this concept to the audience brilliantly. Daniel Proietto’s incredible body language and remarkable technique demands full attention in this organic and beautiful solo. It is no surprise his career is filled with awards, collaborations and international tours. His disjointed bodywork is astonishing, with top and bottom performing separately as if following opposite pulling forces, yet moving in flowing teasing unison. Maliphant’s choice of Satie’s Gnossienne is undoubtedly the perfect touching ally to this living picture as well as the dreamy lighting design by Michael Hulls, with clouds reflected onstage that precede, expand, recede and swirl to Proietto’s delicate commands."
"Luckily, things improved in the central section of the three-part programme, thanks to Russell Maliphant’s AfterLight and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s Faun. The former is a dazzling tribute to Nijinsky — the Ballets Russes’s superstar — in the form of a solo to Satie’s Gnossiennes and is one of the most captivating pieces by Maliphant I have seen. The fluid, spiralling and concentric choreography seems to have been derived from the drawings Nijinsky executed during his long mental illness. Helped by Michael Hulls’s mesmerising lighting, dancer Daniel Proietto hypnotised the audience with his breathtaking technique and stage charisma"
"By contrast, Russell Maliphant's AfterLight went for the minimalist option: a single dancer (Daniel Proietto), only partially illuminated, twirling on the spot and tracing whorls of invisible lines with exquisite ballet arms.
The spirit of Diaghilev's star attraction, Nijinsky, whom Proietto was dressed to resemble in his skull-hugging bandana, felt thrillingly close. (The piece was also a perfect visual response to Erik Satie's spare, glimmering Gnossiennes for solo piano. A shame we got a record and not the live deal)."
"As an artist who has always been fascinated by the shape of things, Russell Maliphant was bound to find inspiration in the abstract drawings of Nijinsky (Diaghilev’s star dancer). Afterlight, Maliphant’s solo for Daniel Proietto, travels in two concurrent circles, defined by the turning movements of the dancer’s body on the spot and the larger arc he travels onstage. Satie’s Gnossiennes works perfectly as music; Michael Hulls’s lake of dappled lighting is breathtaking."
"The second piece "AfterLight" from Russell Maliphant similarly doesn't stray too far from his previous work. That said, it's an evolution if not a revolution. Michael Hulls ever superb lighting has evolved into a whirling projection that only heightens the power of Daniel Proietto's rippling moves. His slow rotation periodically aligning with the light and countering it, it added to the glorious long lines of his arms and curving torso. Truly beautiful and definitely something I look forward to seeing again."
"Meatier fare was offered in Russell Maliphant’s succeeding AfterLight, which investigates Nijinsky’s swirling circular paintings (recently displayed in Hamburg and about which Bruce Marriott wrote in the September Magazine) that vividly annotate and, in some instances, harrowingly display the onset of his schizophrenia. Under an exquisite and ever-expanding pool of light (design by Michael Hulls) the dancer, Daniel Proietto catches glimpses, briefest moments of Nijinsky’s poses, snatches of his roles that dissolve into the whirling lines of his movement and vanish into the airy sounds of Satie’s Gnossiennes that act as accompaniment. Superb in his control, in his evocations of the perfume of Nijinsky’s creations, I thought him magnificent, as too the whole work."
"Two miniature masterpieces had my head spinning and are still on permanent replay in my memory. Russell Maliphant’s AfterLight examines the nature of circles in insane Diaghilev dancer Vaslav Nijinsky’s drawings with Michael Hulls’s tightly focused lighting evoking padded cell and disturbed mental landscape. But it is brilliant dancer Daniel Proietto who perfectly embodies the chaos and harmony in his inevitable downward spiral. Somehow Proietto breaths endless shades of heartbreaking emotion into an apparently repetitive dance language. What a great performer."
"A mesmerisingly beautiful elegy to the career of Nijinsky, set to Satie's Gnossiennes. In an unbroken stream of movement, as Daniel Proietto whirls like a Sufi dancer in a diminishing pool of light, Maliphant reprises the dancer's greatest roles as dream sequence. There, for an instant, is Nijinsky as the Rose, the Faun, the Golden Slave. There are the fleeting photographic moments from Giselle, Petrouchka and Narcisse.
Proietto, his movements as fluid as silk, his arms cutting the air like scimitars, seems to be chasing these fragmentary memories through the dying light, and you don't have to know the story of Nijinsky's descent into schizophrenia to be profoundly moved. In the past, while admiring Maliphant's craft, I've found his work too detached; but with AfterLight, so piercing in its evocation of loss, Maliphant moves into a new register. We've seen a host of Diaghilev-inspired pieces over the last year; this, for me, is the one that speaks most clearly of the wonder and the irrecoverability of those long-gone years."
" By contrast Russell Maliphant’s magical whirling solo, AfterLight, is all quiet, full sensation. It is a true homage to Nijinsky, an original and individual piece that conjures up the spirals and circles of the superstar’s serene, vivid drawing of a dancer's motion, made when he had lost his wits. Ninette de Valois recalled how remotely happy Nijinsky looked when allowed out from his sanatorium for a rare visit to his old company, and it’s light, serenity and the poignant contentment of solitude that glow from the astounding Daniel Proietto’s dervish-like spinning and falling. His costume, white skullcap, red bomber jacketand blue jeans, seems in the twilight to channel the sawdust puppet Petrushka, a signature Nijinsky role. Michael Hulls’ cascade of dappled, altering light surrounds him, traps him between worlds. Satie’s soft, insistently doodling piano Gnossiennes suit the choreography, casting a mesmerising spell."
"Any superficial analysis of Maliphant’s solo for Daniel Proietto, choreographed to Erik Satie’s Gnossiennes 1-4, would have to acknowledge the familiar territory of a dancer downlit in a pool of Michael Hulls’ light with little scope for movement travel. But while the setting may be reminiscent of other Maliphant work, the unbroken flow of gently spiralling movement gives AfterLight a supreme quality all of its own. The performance by Proietto was breathtakingly good and one sensed the absolute attentiveness of the audience throughout."
"AfterLight is especially stunning in its inventivity – billed as a solo to Satie’s Gnossiennes, often used by choreographers, it takes Vaslav Nijinsky’s sketches and paintings as starting point for a reflection on light, sculpture and curves. Daniel Proietto is the moving statue – starting in a circle of light in the centre that gradually expands and changes. Michael Hulls and Es Devlin’s fascinating animated lighting seems to engage in a dialogue with him, alternatively drawing him in, serving as pedestal, and moving away from his body. Proietto, in turn, draws every curve of the Nijinsky-inspired forms Maliphant uses before breaking out of them, of the stillness of the statue. The sense of loss in the moment of silence between each Gnossienne beautifully contrasts this ecstasy of form – until the lone figure, dressed in casual clothes, returns to his strange realm of absolute fluidity."
"After Light by Russell Maliphant seems inspired by Nijinsky. Using geometric forms and circular design under dappled lighting by Michael Hulls, to music by Andy Cowton, Daniel Proietto turns in an almost hypnotic state."
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