Formed in 1909 by Sergei Diaghilev, Les Ballets Russes revolutionised the art of dance. One hundred years later, four ground-breaking choreographers pay a thrilling tribute to this unique artistic venture.
For this special event Sadler’s Wells has commissioned brand new works from Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Javier De Frutos, Russell Maliphant and Wayne McGregor who will each create work inspired by Les Ballets Russes and its spirit of collaboration.
Each artist, working with all or part of his own company, gives their own original response to the famous challenge that Diaghilev once issued to Jean Cocteau: “Surprise me!”
Wayne McGregor: Dyad 1909
Inspired by Shackleton's Nimrod expedition to the North Pole in 1909, the year that Les Ballets Russes was founded, Wayne McGregor creates a brand new Ballet Blanc, Dyad 1909. Wayne McGregor | Random Dance collaborates with acclaimed artists and filmmakers Jane and Louise Wilson, lighting designer Lucy Carter and costume designer Moritz Junge.
Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui: Faun
Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui examines the animalistic nature of human movement and the power of mythology in Faun. This brand new duet, created for two of his company dancers, takes an alternative look at the eponymous creature from Stéphane Mallermé’s poem, Claude Débussy’s music and Vaslav Nijinsky’s choreography.
Russell Maliphant: AfterLight
Using Vaslav Nijinksy’s geometric drawings and paintings as a starting point, Russell Maliphant will create a brand new work entitled AfterLight. With three dancers from the Russell Maliphant Company plus lighting and sound design from regular collaborators Michael Hulls and Andy Cowton.
Javier De Frutos: Eternal Damnation to Sancho and Sanchez
Olivier Award-winner Javier De Frutos’s Eternal Damnation to Sancho and Sanchez is a cautionary fable inspired by Cocteau’s scenarios and designs for Les Ballets Russes and set to Maurice Ravel’s La Valse. De Frutos joins forces with theatre designer Katrina Lindsay and lighting designer Michael Hulls.