Smoke 1/3

This video is the first posting of a three part dance film called, Smoke. It was choreographed and directed by Swedish choreographer Mats Ek. It is danced by Sylvie Guillem and Niklas Ek and the music by Arvo Part.

This dance film was winner of the IMZ, International Music and Media Center award for best choreography for screen in 1999. This was a ballet that was conceived for video at Sylvie Guiellem’s request and is included in her film called, Exidutia. This production was Ek’s first directing project that was commissioned and produced for Swedish TV.

This is a ballet in three parts that depicts a relationship between a man and woman. The ballet explores the turbulent contradictions within the life of a couple through a highly theatrical and emotionally raw movement vernacular. There are moments of humor, sadness and everything in between. It is a moving piece of work that “rips open the subconscious like lightening shatters a tree”!

This first scene introduces the couple as two separate people with their independent solos who meet and come together. The emotional intensity between them grows and their passion becomes big, painful and confusing. Video cuts show smoke coming out of their mouths and clothes depicting the heat of their passion and symbolizing the communication between them. The camera cuts and angles are cleverly combined to aide the story line, increase emotional tension and give the overall atmosphere to the ballet.

The choreography is a wonderful blend of classical and modern expressionism that is very theatrical and powerful. Ek uses an economical use of movement that is made up of a very fluid and expressive combination of balletic, contemporary and pedestrian movement. The piece is set in a abstract surreal genre indicating strong unconscious undertones that are symbolized by the nonsensical dreamlike images such as the oversized table and staircase. They indicate, perhaps, rather Freudian symbols of the mans sexual childhood fantasies of Mother/Lover. Certainly Ek takes us into the deep surreal inner world of passion in each of the couple.

The dancing is brilliant; I am always amazed at how well Sylvie Guiellem dances contemporary work considering her extensive ballet background from the Paris Opera Ballet. The clarity, technical, emotional and expressive strength of these two dancers is fabulous. It is a piece I have really come to appreciate and love over time.

Stay tuned for the next two sections of Smoke that will be coming soon! It get’s better!

Enjoy part 1 of Mats Ek’s amazing ballet, Smoke, danced by the internationally acclaimed Sylvie Guillem and Nikolas Ek, and SHARE it on!


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