…The piece is a response to the horrors the gay community is currently living in countries like Russia and Uganda; I hope that with Les Folles, through the inverted world it evokes, the audience will understand the fear and oppression one feels in homophobic societies- and beyond that, the suffering anyone persecuted for the way they were born has to endure. The atmosphere of fear recreated in Bob Fosse’s Cabaret inspired the ambience of the piece- and i discovered that Nijinska and Fosse were not that strange bedfellows.
I feel a particular pain towards the situation in Russia- the country that has produced and nourished so much ballet, and has made dance what it is today. For that reason I have referenced Russia throughout- beyond Nijinska and Stravinsky. When the dancers prepare for the chorus line, they stand in the opening formation from Balanchine’s Serenade (I chose the image as it was the first piece Balanchine choreographed on his students at the newly founded School of American Ballet, and this is my first proffessional commission for the Northern School of Contemporary Dance- in that way, I felt very humbly related to the master). Sequences of movement material were developed from the iconic arm positions of Petipa’s Raymonda, and I have tried to include Russian character steps fused with the idiosyncratic language of Bob Fosse.
(Photo: Gibson Kochanek Studio)