Daniel Proietto’s Cygne reimagines Michel Fokine’s The Dying Swan, paying tribute to the visceral and extravagant interpretation of the legendary ballerina Anna Pavlova and emphasizing the existential nature of the original creation by adding a child soprano to the scene, witnessing the death.
Taking inspiration from the only film of Pavlova’s performance in 1925, Proietto uses advanced video technology to create three-dimensional projections that play with the public's perception, evoking the silent era of black and white cinema.
In between the projections floats a dancer, the swan or the spirit of Pavlova.
The little boy suddenly enters the stage and while witnessing the last moments of the swan helplessly sings The Dying Swan by Alfred Lloyd Tennyson, the poem that was the source of inspiration of the original work.
The boy, as if he were a little poet or Fokine himself, faces death for the first time and the comprehension of the cycle of life.
Cygne is a poetic and existentialist work that brings the long gone golden age of ballet to the present in a surreal and cinematic way.
The piece, commissioned by Ingrid Lorentzen for her first program as Artistic Director of the Norwegian National Ballet, it's also in the repertoire of the National Ballet of Cuba and the Vienna State Ballet and was presented among others in Oslo, Havana, Vienna, Tokyo, Houston, Saint Petersburg and Moscow.
Cover photos by Erik Berg
Choreography/ concept: Daniel Proietto
Music: Olga Wojciechowska (played by the Norwegian National Opera Orchestra - conducted by John Fiore)
Costume design: Stine Sjøegren
Video design: Yaniv Cohen
Light design: Kristin Bredal
Dance: Camilla Spidsøe Cohen, Samantha Lynch & Maria Kochetkova
Boy soprano: Andreas Augustinius, Julian Borchgrevink Næss & Evert Karlsson
Commissioned by Ingrid Lorentzen for her first program as Artistic Director of the Norwegian National Ballet
Premiered and performed at the Oslo Opera House and at the Wortham Center in Houston, Texas
Produced by the Norwegian National Ballet
Staged by the Cuban National Ballet, dir: Alicia Alonso
Performed at the Gran Teatro Garcia Lorca and Moscow by Daniela Gomes
Staged by the Vienna State Ballet, dir: Manuel Legris
Performed at Vienna State Opera House; Bunkamura, Tokyo and Alexandrinsky, St. Petersburg by Ketevan Papava and Raphael Reiter
Havana International Ballet Festival dir: Viengsay Valdes
Performed at the Teatro Nacional by Yolanda Correa Frias
The evening’s strongest impression was made by Daniel Proietto's staging of the old classic The Dying Swan, or now properly called: Cygne . Camilla Spidsøe in ballet shoes and tutu roared with feathers and left limbs shaping both strength and beauty, but also anxiety, maturity, love and freedom. The piece is a short dance, and easy in a way, but it grips strongly, with its sensitivity, melding with the newly composed music, and caressing the use of video projections. White and small, on a large, dark scene fighting the swan 's agony. It is adventurous, sensual and expressive, and her loneliness is amplified through the large video images that come and disappears in the fog- like reality. A strange grip, which elevates this short work further, the young boy who comes in and looks at the Swan struggle with open interest. He sings Tennyson's poem The Dying Swan . The contrast between the boy's innocent yet vigorous soprano and the death battle he sees, reinforces the impact of the dance, and rises the hairs on your arms. This is a brilliant grasp of Proietto, here signing his version of this classic work , which has now been lifted quite close to us.
Daniel Proietto now wearing his choreographer’s hat went to the source for his twenty-first century Cygne. Flickering monochrome images à la Pavlova foregrounding the dancer who bourrees on a dimly lit stage wearing a reconstruction of the original feathery tutu. Proietto, searching for the soul of the work. has created an intriguing and very moving solo for Camilla Spidsøe. The choreography hovers on the knife-edge between the exquisite and the grotesque, capturing both the diva and the death. In Spidsøe, Proietto has found a perfect interpreter, her face and body equally alive to the poetry.Despite the many references to the original, Proietto has commissioned new music from Olga Wojciechowska and introduced a boy soprano, Andreas J. Augustinius, who sings the opening stanza of Tennyson’s eponymous poem. In gauche movements he expresses a child’s fascination and fear in the presence of death and adds further poignancy to this multi-layered and memorable work.
Tonight sparkling vertex was Daniel Proietto’s Cygne. Camilla Spidsøe is the prima ballerina in white tutu, art form archetype, and dances first in dialogue with a projected image of herself, in an amazing scenographic expression. But this is a swan with inner demons. Stripping is trembling arabesques. The partner is no prince, but a black dressed child who powerlessly witness her maturity and descent. It's extremely strongly danced and choreographed, both as meta ballet and emotional testament.
The crowd went wild for Lynch, a former Houston Ballet girl. The duet is kooky and weird and incredibly compelling. The choreography deftly shifts from traditional ballet vocabulary to street dance shoulder distortions. It's what you might imagine Bjork would choreograph if she did a version of The Dying Swan.
Proietto as choreographer brings nordic angst and a jagged quality to Cygne, the expressive Camilla Spidsøe kitted out as Pavlova’s swan. With Olga Wojciechowska’s moody new score and Yaniv Cohen’s grainy video designs, it is a modern view of a now hackneyed solo and totally successful"
Cygne performed by Samantha Lynch of the Norwegian National Ballet with choreography by Daniel Proietto it is an ode to Dying Swan. The piece begins with a curious image of a boy on a screen and then images of the ballerina. From the moment Samantha Lynch startsdancing, I am entranced by her. She is tall with long, long limbs that move between unearthly grace and a frightful ability to flail radically and wildly as if no longer attached. The juxtaposition of perfect swan ballerina loveliness against the angular jutting of neo-classical/ contemporary positions is as striking as the ballerina’s black hair against her whitened skin. It is pain, it is perfection. It is pain, it is perfection. Entranced, I realize that a boy is singing Tennyson’s Dying Swan. Is that live? It can’t be. It is. A boy’s soprano is devastatingly beautiful as a swan is dying. It is a perfect performance, the kind that takes you completely out of the audience and there is nothing but the stage, almost an out-of-body experience where the art pulls you out of reality and into another world completely. The entire audience has forgotten how to breath as the swan finally collapses her wings, there is a moment of amazed silent, and then the entire place erupts in applause. They love her and they let her know it. Rightly so. This piece is just a gem, truly a sparkling, shimmering diamond of dance. And I am just moved to tears at its heart stopping beauty and heartbreaking agony.
The Havana public was also dazzled these days by the exquisite performance of Daniela Gómez in the presentations of the National Ballet of Cuba, also at the Gran Teatro. The unique Cygne entrusted to her by Argentine Daniel Proietto was the highest point in a program that also featured other recent choreographies. They all had something in common: they paid homage, from the distortion of the line or the rearrangement of the music, to the great classical tradition.
Daniel Proietto, who dances the despairing and jealous Petruskja, has choreographed Cygne, the only work with original music. Olga Wojciechowska's delicate soundscape reinforces Camilla Spidsøe's swan in disarray, first aesthetically with Pavlova's Russian arms, then increasingly rowdy and ugly, like death itself. She reaches the bottom while young Andreas J. Augustinius sings her swan song. Gripping and different.
Copyright © 2021 Daniel Proietto I House of Drama I KNOW
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