Something I’d like to see: Just by Simone Valastro

A 15-minute piece, “Just” was created for the opening of the 245th ballet season at the Bolshoi theatre in September 2020, right after the first pandemic wave.

Olga Smirnova

This was part of an unusual programme devised by the Bolshoi’s artistic director Makhar Vaziev, to fuel again the dancers’ creative energy and motivation with new projects after months of lockdown.

Official teaser of the “Four Characters in Search of a plot” programme

The source of inspiration for the Italian Simone Valastro came from the music of David Lang. “I love this composer very much and have long wanted to compose a ballet to his music. When Makhar Vaziev asked if I could stage a short ballet, about fifteen minutes long, I immediately remembered Lang’s song Just.” This song is based on the Song of Songs, the only Biblical text that openly talks about the love between a man and a woman, a powerful theme that resonates with importance even more now after months and months of isolation.

The choreography does not play on religious themes in any way, and the dance – quite clear, angularly sharp, precise – describes a love story taking place against a hostile industrial background with four fans on it. At certain points, the fans start to spin faster or slow down, emphasizing the change in the dance scene.

The piece, choreographed for 5 dancers, received very positive reviews from Russian as well as international critics, but I couldn’t find any other instances of this work being re-presented in other theatres and for other companies.

Olga Smirnova, Igor Tsvirko, Maria Vinogradova, Anastasia Stashkevich, and Vyacheslav Lopatin

Very intrigued…

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