by Emma Love Suddarth
Connection. Between fingertips. Between one note and one arm. Between minds. Between spines. Between you and five other dancers spread across the stage. Between steps. Between dancer and audience. Between details. Between partners. Between souls.
The works of Jiří Kylián are set apart—and rightfully so. The atmosphere of complete intimacy they innately craft, both onstage amongst dancers and across the proscenium with the audience, is unique, and invaluable. At Pacific Northwest Ballet I’ve been lucky enough to perform two already—Sechs Tanze and Petite Mort—and, for the upcoming program Brief Fling, am working to add a third—Forgotten Land. These works hold special places in my heart, not only due to special opportunities, or incomparable partners, but largely due to the joy, trust, intimacy, and fearlessness they inherently create.
My first experience with the work of Kylián came and went in a blur. As a fairly new dancer in the company, simply learning one of the four women of Sechs Tanze was an unbelievable thrill. As a PNB “newbie,” I had no expectation of performing; nevertheless, I was drenched in sweat at the end of every rehearsal because, after all, who wouldn’t want to try being dragged across half the stage in a split, simultaneously going up and down like a carousel, or doing bicycle legs as fast as humanly possible in the air while laying on your partner’s back? It was hard to resist. Then, due to last minute injuries, I got a shot. However, this simultaneously exciting and potentially nerve-wracking experience was different than almost any previous or many since. [Read more…]