The iconic dancer and former prima ballerina – Sylvie Guillem, or Mademoiselle Non – will bow out from her career following a final UK tour of her production Life in Progress. In addition to the previously announced international tour, Sadler’s Wells will present the world renowned Guillem’s final dance programme at the London Coliseum, Edinburgh International Festival and Birmingham Hippodrome. Guillem will also be honoured with an Olivier Award ahead of her retirement, however it is rare that dancers stop dancing completely following announcements of this type.
The newly announced UK dates follow Guillem’s final performances at Sadler’s Wells, from 26–31 May 2015, where she has been an Associate Artist since 2006 and where she announced her retirement, from the stage in November 2014. Life in Progress receives its world premiere in Modena on 31 March 2015, and the final performance is in Tokyo in December 2015. In terms of her Olivier award, Guillem is the recipient of a special award at this year’s Oliviers, celebrating her achievements over the course of her career.
Life in Progress features both existing and new works by choreographers who have influenced her contemporary career. Guillem will perform a pas de deux with Italian dancer Emanuela Montanari from La Scala, choreographed and directed by Russell Maliphant with lighting by Michael Hulls. In the piece, Here & After, Maliphant acknowledges his past works and experiences with Guillem whilst moving on and exploring a vocabulary that shows contrast, with a female duet partnership. Existing works that feature are Mats Ek’s touching and poignant solo, Bye, which was made for Guillem, and William Forsythe’s Duo (performed by two male dancers), which premiered in 1996.
Guillem began training at the Paris Opera Ballet School aged 11, and has since performed all the leading roles of classical repertoire with companies including the Royal Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, Kirov, Tokyo Ballet, Australian Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and La Scala, ahead of her contemporary career.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
The iconic and ethereal dancer Sylvie Guillem has announced that she will retire at the end of 2015. Having begun as a classical ballet dancer at the Paris Opera Ballet and then becoming a principal with the Royal Ballet, the French ballerina turned contemporary dancer will be sorely missed by her audiences. Guillem joined the Paris Opera Ballet in 1981 where she was singled out by director Rudolf Nureyev: she was promoted to the top rank faster than any other dancer with the company.
Guillem chose to make the announcement through the Japan Performing Arts Foundation; her farewell performance will also be taking place in Japan, which will make it difficult for the rest of her international following to witness the scheduled farewell. Recently Guillem has performed solely contemporary works, creating works with esteemed choreographers such as Russell Maliphant, Akram Khan and many others.
Guillem is now 49 years old, however you would not know considering her fantastic technique and lithe body. Following a rather eventful career Guillem is one of the world’s most famous dancers. This is in part due to her fantastic legs and feet, but ultimately due to her impeccable performances and the artistry, expression and quality that comes as a result of her acclaimed performances. She is also an associate artist of Sadler’s Wells.
November this year will see Guillem dance in a revival of Sacred Monsters, a duet with Akram Khan at Sadler’s Wells, giving London audiences the chance to see Guillem in action once again. Despite this, it is fitting that Guillem’s performance will be in Japan as she feels a particular tie to the country: her 2011 show 6,000 miles away was named for the country to support the earthquakes and tsunami victims in the country.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
The International Dance Festival Birmingham is due to run from April 23rd until May 19th, bringing an outstanding line-up of hit shows to the Midlands, such as Sylvie Guillem and Russell Maliphant’s Push, combining elements of ballet, contemporary, capoeira, t’ai chi and yoga; a solo for Louise LeCavalier named Children & A Few Minutes Of Lock created by Nigel Charnock; and the premiere of new work The Impending Storm, featuring dance virtuoso David Toole.
The month-long dance programme is now in its third edition as a major biennial festival produced by DanceXchange and Birmingham Hippodrome, programmed across theatres, streets and public places, creating a wealth of participatory activity for people of all ages by animating the city of Birmingham and the West Midlands, encouraging them to pull on their dancewear and get involved.
The IDFB is one of the largest dance festivals in the world, and is unique in its diversity and internationalism through its programming of exceptional dance from across the globe, and hosting collaborations with international choreographers and artists. The IDFB is set to include additionally engaging features such as the pointe shoes of The Royal Ballet of Flanders (performing Artifact), a screening of the jazz shoe classic West Side Story and the exotic Danza Contemporanea de Cuba from Dance Consortium. Added to the mix is the transferral of urban hoodie-wearing Breakin’ Convention from London to the Midlands, the international festival of hip-hop dance theatre within the IDFB.
The IDFB aims to bring an outstanding quality of work and worldwide attention to the numerous arts organisations and venues in the Midlands and the incredible dance scene which resides there through many partnerships and collaborations. Building on the successes of previous years, the IDFB 2012 aims to be even more distinctive than before, attracting more visitors from across the UK and beyond, consequently benefitting the local economy. With a strong international focus, the IDFB will celebrate artistic excellence, promote artistic exchange and express the youthful, diverse and energetic spirit of dance in the Midlands.
IDFB 2012 image courtesy of IFDB. Sylvie Guillem & Russell Maliphant image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.