Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Rilkean Dance

A new London staging of the French ballet Giselle, the brainchild of 19th-century intellectual Théophile Gautier, incorporates Rilkean thoughts and images. As reported in the Guardian:

"The clue to the piece's real agenda lies in the title, a sly borrowing from a collection of poems and essays by German writer Rainer Maria Rilke. What [choreographer] Miller is actually doing is using the Giselle story to express aspects of Rilke's philosophy...Throughout his life, Rilke insisted that 'one is alone' and that lovers are, at best, 'the guardians of each other's solitude'. Miller graphically illustrates this in a tableau in which Giselle and Albrecht are slumped on child-sized chairs in tender mutual incomprehension. Giselle is in her wedding dress, he is carrying flowers. Rilke constantly returned to the idea of death as transformation and to the image of flowers, particularly roses, as a metaphor for both.

So this is really a piece about life-change. In Miller's version of the ballet, Giselle's mother encourages her daughter to dance (rather than forbidding her because of her weak heart), because only by risking death, metaphorical or otherwise, can transformation be effected. As Rilke writes: 'Only someone who is ready for anything, who excludes nothing, can relate fully to another.'..."

No comments:

Post a Comment