Velocity Presents Natascha Greenwalt's DANSES DES CYGNES
Natascha Greenwalt of Coriolis Dance is bringing her "universally brilliant" cast to Velocity Dance Center June 6-9 for the full-length world premiere of Danses des Cygnes, a feminist re-imagining of Swan Lake. A vital work in light of the #MeToo movement and the current socio-political climate, Danses des Cygnes reclaims and revises the seminal ballet to tell a story of female empowerment and community.
"For more than a hundred years, ballet fans have marveled at the beauty of this 'love' story, but Coriolis turns the patriarchal power structure of Swan Lake on its head..." - City Arts
As a trained ballet dancer, Greenwalt first conceived of Danses des Cygnes as a response to the deep issues she finds in the ballet form: a discipline entrenched in the patriarchy, the impossible standard of the archetypal ballerina developed through a male gaze, an extreme lack of diversity, and a lack of women in leadership or choreographic positions. No ballet felt more apt for such a confrontation with the form than Tchaikovsky's famed Swan Lake. Greenwalt takes an incisive stance on Odette's story, challenging a narrative in which the female protagonist conflates love with fear and self-sacrifice. Heavily inspired by hours studying the physicality and collective patterning of birds, Greenwalt's choreography evokes intense emotional vulnerability while drawing on the power of the collective. Without shying away from the realities of Odette's abuse, Greenwalt turns the fable's focus to the redemptive possibilities of community, with the hope of using this revised narrative to engender a sense of female strength and power.
With a stellar team of designers, Greenwalt's approach to design equally refigures the forest setting as an atmosphere of mystery and transformation. Sound designers Michael Owcharuk and Maia Durfee weave a live violin performance of Tchaikovsky's score with re-sampled sounds of the forest, while artist Katie Miller has created light-filtering wood panels to create a set that is both beautiful and haunting. Shelby Rogers (Pacific Northwest Ballet, Seattle Opera) has designed make-up and body paint that give the dancers a fierce, mud-streaked look that is combined with sleek contemporary costuming by local designers Katherine Andrews and Liise Wyatt of Wyatt Orr. In the hands of the design team, the forest is brought into the 21st century as a space of both danger and profound possibility.
In many ways, Danses des Cygnes is a natural outgrowth of the work Greenwalt first started with Coriolis Dance over ten years ago with co-director Christin Call. As a female co-led and co-founded dance company, Coriolis has been passionate about pushing the political and formal boundaries of ballet from the get-go. Founded in 2008, the company was born the company has made its mission to expand and re-imagine the capabilities of ballet as an artistic medium. In the 35+ works in its repertoire, Coriolis approaches ballet technique "as a self-aware vocabulary that, through manipulation and molding, is contextualized with contemporary issues." Danses des Cygnes will be the company's eighth original full-length production.
Tickets: $20 advance ($25 at the door); $17 MVP members; $15 under 25 (w/ ID); $50 Patron. TICKETS: http://bit.ly/GreenwaltTix19.