Igor Kolb – Beginning (choreography by Vladimir Varnava)

Whimsical and poignant is this solo called, “Beginning”, danced by Igor Kolb who is a Principal dancer with the Marinsky Ballet Theatre. The choreography is by Vladimir Varnava and the music is Eric Satie, Gnossienne No. 1.

Vladimir Varnava is a rising young contemporary choreographer from Russian. Varnava began his training at the Arts Center for Gifted Children in Northern Russia. In 2004 he continued his education at the Khanty – Marinsky branch of the Moscow State University of Culture and Arts where he began to follow his interest in choreography. In 2008 he joined the Music Theatre of the Republic of Karelia where he danced as a soloist in both classical and contemporary repertoire moving on to begin his choreographic career in 2011. The work in this video is a piece from a series of staged miniatures that Varnava created on various soloists from different theatres in St. Petersburg in 2012.

The piece, Beginning, is based on a famous painting called, The Son of Man, (1964) which is a self portrait created by the renowned Belgium surrealist artist, Rene Magritte. Magritte is well known for his witty and thought provoking surreal images.

The solo begins as a “copy” of the picture as Kolb stands in a suit and bowler hat with a green apple in his mouth. Varnava has used a very organic contemporary movement vocabulary that blends well with Kolb’s’ classical background. The movement incorporates the whole use of the body in whimsical, odd and quirky ways. He has off balanced images and forms that ripple and flow into odd and almost comical characterizations of a peculiar little man dancing with his apple. Satie is a great choice of music as it also heightens the quirky irregularity in the movement.

The solo is beautifully danced; Kolb is perfect for the part. He looks the part in his bowler and suit and he has a great sense of the contemporary flow and expressivity with his body in spite of his classical background. He brings a witty and sensitive dramatic charm to his interpretation of this peculiar character. The piece has lovely ending. We see Kolb roll the apple along the floor, and the camera shot continues following the apple’s path as it rolls to a final stop, turning back to its original color.

Enjoy Igor Kolb’s beautiful interpretation of this clever and whimsical creation of a Rene Magritte’s self portrait by Vladimir Varnava and SHARE!


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