I recently heard word of a new Contemporary ballet choreographed by a personally beloved choreographer, performed by members of this incredible company, inspired by a new artistically conceptualized book by a favorite author, Jonathan Safran Foer
Here are the details:
NEW CONTEMPORARY BALLETTREE OF CODES TO MAKE U.S. PREMIERE
AT PARK AVENUE ARMORY THIS SEPTEMBER
With direction and choreography by Wayne McGregor, dance commission
features site-specific environment by Olafur Eliasson, score by Jamie xx, and
performances by members of Paris Opera Ballet and Company Wayne McGregor
New York, NY – May 28, 2015 – A major new and immersive contemporary ballet—collaboratively imagined by choreographer Wayne McGregor, visual artist Olafur Eliasson, and award-winning producer/composer Jamie xx—makes its U.S. premiere at Park Avenue Armory this September. Inspired by Jonathan Safran Foer’s enigmatic and eponymous novel,Tree of Codes distorts conventional perceptions of space and time, through manipulation of light, reflection, sound, and movement. The work will be performed by a company of soloists and dancers from the Paris Opera Ballet and Company Wayne McGregor.
“At the Armory, we are always encouraging artists to push the limits of their specific disciplines. Wayne McGregor, Olafur Eliasson and Jaime xx are each pioneers in their respective fields, and their collective vision for Tree of Codes asks us to bend our pre-conceived notions of traditional ballet and also the world around us,” said Rebecca Robertson, President and Executive Producer of Park Avenue Armory. “We are thrilled to once again animate the drill hall with the intense beauty of dance, and to offer our audiences the opportunity to connect with the art form in new and exciting ways.”
Fusing storytelling and sculpture, and blurring definitions of time and space, Jonathan Safran Foer’s original work is at once a novel and a piece of art, created by carving words and phrases from Bruno Schulz’s collection of short stories The Street of Crocodilesto arrive at a new narrative that explores a person’s last day of life. Utilizing this imagery and Foer’s merging of genres as a point of departure,Tree of Codes will feature a site-specific environment by Olafur Eliasson that warps audience perception from the moment they enter the drill hall through the contortion of reflection, color, and prisms of light. Sixteen dancers, performing to an original score by Jamie xx, will interact with and respond to the environment. Further echoing and enhancing the themes of space and time, the audience will at once be intimately engaged with the dancers and immersed in the historic drill hall.
There are certainly a lot of influences behind and a lot of artists contributing to this new piece; short stories inspiring wood carvings and phrases which inspired ballet and music and sculpture. This piece and the 2015-16 season at the Armory begs the question, at what point is ballet such a reimagining of ballet that it is no longer ballet? At what point does the crossing of disciplines between art, music, literature, movement become so divided amongst the various forms of art at hand that it loses the power and focus of each specific, beautiful ,stand-alone discipline? In other words, can you see the forest for the trees?
It sounds to me like this piece – with leading artists across various fields- will either be completely mind-blowing or mind-overwhelming and no ambiguous book of phrases and etchings will uncode it.
(These are a few photos that come up if you type ‘forest’ and ‘dancer’ into google search)