Sylvie Guillem: Life in Progress @ Festival Theatre

Review by Stephanie Green | 11 Aug 2015

Subtle, intelligent, playful and moving, Life in Progress exemplifies Sylvie Guillem’s attitude through the 39 years of her dance career: balancing fun and risk, continuing to search for new possibilities, melding early classical training and moving to contemporary dance. The choreographers and co-dancers chosen here have all been important in her life and exemplify this approach. In fact, each piece feels as if we are experiencing the process of it being made.

Kathak-trained Akram Khan’s technê is introspective and compelling, involving many ground-based restless contortions superbly responsive to the Indian rhythms of the percussion.

Duo2015 is choreographed by William Forsythe, who strongly influenced Guillem’s development. Performed by Brigel Gjoka and Riley Watts, it is a tongue-in-cheek piece about male competitiveness which becomes increasingly technically demanding.

Russell Maliphant’s Here & After is a sinuous and elegiac duet with Emanuela Montanari (whom Guillem has produced in the past) set to Andy Cowton’s haunting music and impressive lighting by Michael Hulls, which encloses the dancers, patterning the stage with squares from which they dance in and out.

The delightful Bye, choreographed by Mats Ek to Beethoven’s Piano Sonata in C minor, Op 111, features Guillem in plaits and a cardie – herself as a little girl, perhaps a Pippi Longstocking – dancing awkwardly then flinging off her shoes, free to find herself. An intriguing light effect, a lit door she slips in through and later leaves to join others, is a wonderful symbol of her continual search for new life.

Sylvie Guillem: A Life in Progress, Festival Theatre, run ended

Sylvie Guillem - A Life in Progress, Festival Theatre, run ended