NEW YORK CITY Articles
Click for More Articles on NEW YORK CITY...

The Joyce Presents Sylvie Guillem at The Koch April 4-7

The Joyce Presents Sylvie Guillem at The Koch April 4-7

The Joyce Theater Foundation (Linda Shelton, Executive Director) has announced the American premiere of the Sadler's Wells London/Sylvie Guillem production of 6000 miles away, a mixed program devised and performed by internationally acclaimed dancer Sylvie Guillem, to be presented at The David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center, April 4, 5, & 7, 2012.

Performances 6000 miles away are Wednesday, April 4 at 7pm; Thursday, April 5 at 8pm; and Saturday, April 7 at 8pm. Tickets, ranging in price from $26-$110, can be purchased through www.DavidHKochTheater.com/events or by calling (212)-496-0600. Please note: prices are subject to change.

Ms. Guillemstars in this new evening featuring the work by three choreographers: Mats Ek, William Forsythe and Ji?í Kylián.

About the show: 6000 miles away, a reference to last spring's devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan, features iconic dance-maker William Forsythe'snew duet, Rearray, for Ms. Guillem and Teatro alla Scala Ballet étoile Massimo Murru. Acclaimed Swedish choreographer Mats Ek will contribute a solo, Bye, for Guillem, set to Beethoven's last piano sonata. Completing the evening is a duet from Kylián's work 27'52," performed by dancers handpicked by him.

The Joyce Theater Foundation's 2012 Spring Gala will be held at 7:00 PM on the night of the American premiere performance, Wednesday, April 4, 2012. The Gala will include the performance of 6000 miles away, followed immediately post-performance by a Gala dinner and dancing on the Promenade of the David H. Koch Theater. Gala tickets can be arranged through www.Joyce.org or by calling (646) 467-8556.

Linda Shelton, Executive Director of The Joyce Theater Foundation, said, "Ms. Guillem is one of the world's most renowned dancers, and has hardly ever been seen in performance on our shores. She sprang to fame when Rudolf Nureyev nominated her 'Étoile' of the Paris Opera & Ballet at the tender age of 19 and she went on to be his muse and enjoy a stellar international career with the Paris Opera Ballet, and then the Royal Ballet in London. More recently, she has joined Sadler's Wells London as an Associate Artist, where she has caused a sensation. The Joyce Theater is delighted to present the American premiere performances of this iconic new work."

Mark Heiser, Managing Director of the David H. Koch Theater said, "We are grateful that The Joyce Theater has created a rare opportunity to have Ms. Guillem grace the stage of the David H. Koch Theater."

SYLVIE GUILLEM (biography by John Percival):
Pure physical prowess was the beginning of Sylvie Guillem's career, but it was theater that seduced her and made her the great star of her generation. Born in Paris, she began as a gymnast with Olympic hopes, but at 11 when she and her group attended the Paris Opera's ballet school for polishing, she switched ambitions. The teachers accepted her with delight, bowled over by her extraordinary physique, amazing feet, tremendous jump and equally by her intelligence and determination. Already as a student she attracted attention in the school performances of ballets by David Lichine, Albert Aveline and Attilio Labis. Joining the Paris company at 16, she raced right up the hierarchy, winning promotions every year in the annual competitions.

Rudolf Nureyev, appointed artistic director of the company as she began her third year, gave her a small role in his debut production, Raymonda, quickly followed by others as he continued diversifying the repertoire. Her swift, light technique proved radiant in the "Shades" solos of his Bayadère vision scene, her dancing in Balanchine's Divertimento No 15 showed style. Even more notably, she danced everyone else off stage in Rudi van Dantzig's No Man's Land, her powerful dramatic sense creating a convincing portrait of tension and tenderness, anxiety and determined self-sufficiency. In December 1984, at age 19 (and only five days after she had won promotion to première danseuse ranking), Nureyev appointed her étoile, star dancer, coming on stage at the end of her first Swan Lake to make the announcement publicly. Over the next few years many visiting choreographers put her into their creations. William Forsythe led the way with France Danse and later gave her the central role of In the middle, somewhat elevated. Maurice Béjart made Mouvements Rythmes Etudes and Arépo featuring her; she stood out in Carole Armitage's GV10 and John Neumeier made a brilliant solo for her in Magnificat. Especially influential was the experience of creating Robert Wilson's minimalist Le Martyre de St Sébastian. Jerome Robbins chose to mount his In Memory of… specially for her, and she was prominent in the company's Antony Tudor program and in MacMillan's Song of the Earth, also in other works by Balanchine, Béjart and Lifar. Naturally she danced the big classics too: Nureyev particularly liked her in his Don Quixote ("like champagne", he said), and in 1986 he made the title part in his Hollywood-based Cinderella for her.

However, because the Opéra's administration would not change her contract to make it easier for her to accept invitations abroad, in 1988 she resigned and made London her main base, with a guest contract at The Royal Ballet. Her roles there have included, besides the classics, Ashton's Birthday Offering, Cinderella, Marguerite and Armand (Fonteyn's first replacement) and Month in the Country, MacMillan's Romeo and Juliet, Manon, Prince of the Pagodas and Winter Dreams, and Robbins's The Concert. Her wish for a wider range inspirEd Royal Ballet productions of Mats Ek's Carmen and Forsythe's Herman Schmerman, Steptext and the new Firsttext, and several showpiece dances were given only for her: Robbins's Other Dances, Béjart's La Luna, also Victor Gsovsky's virtuosic Grand Pas Classique, to which she added an unexpected touch of humor.

Travelling worldwide to perform with many companies (including guest appearances at the Opéra), she took further opportunities to enlarge her repertoire, including Rostislav Zakharov's Fountain of Bakhchisarai for the Kirov Ballet (choosing to play the tough wife Zarema, not Ulanova's romantic Polish princess) and Agnes De Mille's Fall River Legend with American Ballet Theatre. Béjart created three further ballets for her (including SissiImpératrice about the eccentricities of the Austro-Hungarian Empress Elisabeth) and cast her in two of his most famous works, Bolero and The Rite of Spring. Mats Ek made two filmed ballets for her with special effects, Wet Woman and Smoke. Collaborations with the film maker Francoise Va Han have documented parts of her career and included her own improvisations, also a strange walking around solo for her, Blue Yellow, commissioned from the independent British choreographer Jonathan Burrows.

Guillem's interest in modern-dance choreography led her to the experiment of putting on versions of two solos by the German expressionist pioneer Mary Wigman, Summer Dance and The Witch's Dance, which she showed in an experimental programme at The Hague in 1998. In contrast, that same year she was persuaded by Jorma Uotinen, then director of the Finnish National Ballet, to stage her own new production of one of the oldest classical ballets, Giselle. Her purpose, she said, was to restore the logic of the narrative and set it in a more plausible village context. The interesting result was performed by the Finnish company in Helsinki and Paris, then reworked for the Ballet of La Scala, Milan, who showed it also at the New York Met, Covent Garden, Los Angeles and on Spanish and Italian tours.

Maybe this could indicate a possible future for her activities, but for the present Guillem seems largely to have given up traditional classical ballet, in favor of modern choreography. Her current activities effectively began in December 2003 when, at her own urging, she collaborated with the dancers Michael Nunn and William Trevitt and the choreographer Russell Maliphant on a creation, Broken Fall, premiered at Covent Garden Opera House on a joint program with The Royal Ballet. This led, again with Nunn and Trevitt, to an all-Maliphant program including a reworked solo for her, given in two seasons at Sadler's Wells, also in France, Japan, Italy, Switzerland and Germany. And in turn that has led to the present second Maliphant evening, PUSH with two further premieres, another solo for her and the duet for Guillem and Maliphant, Push. PUSH was followed in 2006 by Sacred Monsters, a new collaboration with Akram Khan, which premiered at Sadler's Wells and has toured across Europe, America and Asia and Australia. In 2009 Guillem collaborated with Russell Maliphant and Robert Lepage for Eonnagata which will tour internationally until 2012.

The Joyce Theater Foundation, a non-profit organization, has served the dance community and its audiences for three decades. The founders, Cora Cahan and Eliot Feld, acquired and renovated the Elgin Theater in Chelsea, which opened as The Joyce Theater in 1982. The Joyce Theater is named in honor of Joyce Mertz, beloved daughter of LuEsther T. Mertz. It was LuEsther's clear, undaunted vision and abundant generosity that made it imaginable and ultimately possible to build the theater. One of the only theaters built by dancers for dance, The Joyce Theater has provided an intimate and elegant home for more than 320 domestic and international companies. The Joyce has also commissioned more than 130 new dances since 1992. In 1996, The Joyce created Joyce SoHo, a dance center providing highly subsidized rehearsal and performance space to hundreds of dance artists, as well as special residency opportunities for selected choreographers to support the creation of new work. In 2009, The Joyce opened Dance Art New York (DANY) Studios to provide affordable studios for rehearsals, auditions, classes, and workshops for independent choreographers, non-profit dance companies, and the dance/theater communities. New York City public school students and teachers annually benefit from The Joyce's Dance Education Program, and adult audiences get closer to dance through informative Dance Talks, Joyce Pre-Show gatherings, and post-performance Dance Chat discussions. The Joyce Theater now features an annual season of approximately 48 weeks with over 340 performances for audiences in excess of 135,000.

Related Articles


Comment & Share

About Author

Subscribe to Author Alerts