Hello. I' m a choreographer and today I' m imagining that Diaghilev has asked me to make a new piece.
So, I' m going to ask Jason (Jason Ridgway) ... can you just play us the opening bars of what we' re working with? [From ' Six Morceaux' Op 19 by Tchaikovsky, 1873]
Music would have been something that Diaghilev would have offered his choreographers. He would have made a suggestion or even given them music. So today I' m imagining that I' ve been given music by Tchaikovsky, a composer very dear to Diaghilev' s heart.
[With dancers Wayne Parsons & Hannah Kidd]
So she can take your forearm this way and you can brush with the leg across there, OK. Now you' re going to step up into 5th and push his arm up out of the way above your head. Dah dah ... that' s it. That' s exactly what it is. So it' s like [demonstrates moves].
Having chosen the piece of music that has big, clear gestures, that what I think of this piano music as having, I want it to ... in a way, I think, use something of the classical language because somehow that suits that kind of grandeur.
[With dancers in studio]
... that' s right, so you want to give yourself ...plié so it' s there ... 1, 2, 3 and 1 ... good, terrific.
Then making the opening phrases. Seeing if I can make them plain and simple, but add in detail so like when they both take their foot off at the end of the phrase ... dah dah, take your foot off.
And you' re going to look out that way and as you do, take that arm out and I think take the right foot offsky.
Wayne Parsons: And so it comes in and out ...
That' s it, not too high because you just want to keep stretched up. That' s it. Terrific.
Then there' s this wonderful section where it carries on, where it just seems to ripple, 24 little 3s where it' s just modulating and so I wanted that to slide and move around in a way that had no edges.
Then they come out into the clear again, if you like, they come out into the light for the big phrase.
OK, so think about this ... dah dah and it' s arm, arm - he' s there ... dah dah and he' s dee dah ... ha, ha ta dee ha ha ... that' s it - terrific - good - all right.
Those were the ideas that I had listening to the music. I don' t make up movement before, but I try to know what sort of temperature I' m looking for by really having a feeling for the music.
Just down backwards ... there you are, that' s it.
Diaghilev had an extraordinary track record. In only 18 years of his company, he discovered and nurtured five major choreographers. His first choreographer was Fokine who was a revolutionary really who made ballet much more realistic than it had been before. Nijinsky, the next choreographer, who Diaghilev really nurtured and encouraged, was really something of an experimentalist and very particular and very strange choreography is what he made. He was followed by Massine who made much more human, much more characterful dance really. It was more narrative, more full of character touches. After him came the remarkable Nijinska, Nijinsky' s sister. She was a genius and she produced some remarkable work, some of it quite Art Deco influenced and some of it very stark and strong such as ' Les Noces' which is really her masterpiece. The last choreographer in Diaghilev' s lifetime was Georges Balanchine who had a major influence on 20th century choreography and who was a neo-classicist who really explored music and its relationship to dance.
[The finished piece Richard Alston piece ' For Diaghilev' ]
Now could you get Mr Diaghilev in? He' s got to look at it and tell me ...