We witness three ex-ballerinas on stage, each of them in a specific relation to classical ballet, performing the first non-narrative ballet Les Sylphides. Originally choreographed by Russian Ballet-renewer Michael Fokine for a cast of 22 dancers in 1909 Les Sylphides has become part of the canon of western european dance. By restaging and translating its choreographic propositions into a contemporary context, Nicole Beutler puts into question the idea of the 'new', the idea of originality and of authorship.
In her version of the ballet Nicole Beutler chooses to bring it literally closer the audience, to emphasize the act of its performance itself, creating a direct experience beyond a mere esthetic pleasure at a distance. She alters the position of the spectator and proposes not a simple copy of the past, but a recalling of the essence and original spirit of Les Sylphides. Resonating the past in a present experience.
Nicole Beutler aims to inform the contemporary questions on dance and the body by looking back: How did dance as a stage-art become what it is now? Dance as stage art as we know it still relies on the conventions and strategies that were developed in the times of Louis XIV at the French court. These academic conventions have become a cultural phenomenon that invite for a closer examination.
Les Sylphides was selected by the Dutch periodical TM (Theatermaker, September 2008) as one of the top five dance performances in the Netherlands during the 2007/2008 season and presented during the Nederlandse Dansdagen in Maastricht in 2009 as one of the highpoints of the previous season.
// Credits //
Idea/Choreography: Nicole Beutler
Based on the original choregraphy of Michael Fokine (1909)
Made in collaboration with: Marta Reig Torres, Bojana, Mladenovic – replaced since 2011 by Ester Natzijl, Charlotte van den Reek – replaced since 2009 by Hillary Blake Firestone
Artistic assistance: Hester van Hasselt, Paz Rojo Music: Gary Shepherd (based on Frédéric Chopin's original waltzes)
Lightconcept: Minna Tiikkainen
Dramaturgy: Igor Dobricic, Jeroen Fabius
Technique: Martin Kaffarnik
Production: LISA/Inge Koks, Nadine Zijp Coproducers: Dansateliers, LISA, Springdance Festival, Utrecht
Thanks to: Heroen Fabius. Hester van Hasselt, Paz Rojo
Supported by Fonds Podiumkunsten
// Presse //
The classical movement phrases, usually observed on a big stage from great distance, seems more delicate here – especially when one of the dancers asks for support from the audience. But at the same time this piece also underlines the virtuosity of the form. This combination shines another light on classical dance, making for an intimate and deeply fascinating experience.
- Marcelle Schots, Sept 2008 -
Dance in the Nederlands is linked to certain periods of the dance history, techniques, styles and aesthetics. This is why the performance of Beutler is so interesting; it dwells on such preoccupations.
- Sander Hiskemuller, 17/4/2008 -