Two brand new pieces of work from Ballett Zurich take their inspiration from two well-established cultural touchstones – Vivaldi’s Four Seasons (reworked as Kairos) and Shakespeare’s Sonnets (Sonett). It’s a brilliant riposte to the idea that classic works are in danger of spawning stale homages. This is dance at its spikiest, its most glorious, its weirdest.
Kairos, created by current Royal Ballet choreographer Wayne McGregor, describes its meaning as the idea that there is an ideal moment for every action. This theme is mirrored by the skill of the dancers, as their precise and intricate movements match the rhythm of the music almost seamlessly. The unpredictability of nature is ramped up by Max Richter‘s re-interpretation of Vivaldi, which allows the supposed gentility of the Baroque sonatas to be wilder, harsher, more primal. There’s great use of light in the relatively bare staging as well, as tight muscles are thrown into sharp relief by a single spotlight, behind a screen of thin hazy gauze.
Where Kairos is stripped back, Sonett (created by Christian Spuck, director of Ballett Zurich) fills the stage with the chaos of the human mind in love – or at least, the human mind infatuated. The Dark Lady slinks along the edge, as deadly and seductive as a spider, whilst the Bard – confidently voiced by Mireille Mosse – turns his own words over and over in his mind, desperate for answers. Dancers – 23 in total – emerge to the music of Philip Glass and Mozart, performing on movable plinths, beautifully synchronised, coat tails and tutus whirling into the dark. A projection of the mysterious object of the sonnets – a handsome young man – surveys all with an unsmiling face, apparently impassive. It’s cleverer than Kairos, though less moving – and occasionally, there is simply too much going on to take it all in at once. But as a marriage of the cerebral and the corporeal elements of the human condition – these two short pieces complement each other perfectly.