“Pure Dance”

26/11/2019 20:00
Bolshoi Drama Theatre
“Pure Dance”


Natalia Osipova


I am so pleased to have been asked to develop this programme, Pure Dance, produced by Sadler’s Wells, following our first collaboration in 2016.
For this programme, I wanted to offer the audience works that will demonstrate the power of dance to move, emote and inspire. These works are all created by choreographers who I admire greatly, and span from those who are established icons like Tudor (heritage) and Ratmansky (present day), through to emerging artists, whose work shows so much promise, to help make the future of dance look so exciting.

I feel deeply honoured that David Hallberg has so graciously agreed to join me on stage for this programme, as he is one of the greatest artists of his generation, and will be able to convey the essence and precious qualities of the works he will be performing in.
Dance is an amazing language, whether it’s classical dance or contemporary or any other style. I really enjoy dancing and working with amazing choreographers and dancers who deeply inspire me.

The works in this programme reflect my personal taste and hopes for the future of the art form I hold so dear.

Natalia Osipova, September 2018



Choreographer: Antony Tudor
World Premiere: 17 July 1975, American Ballet Theatre, New York State Theater
Duration 7 minutes
Dancers: Natalia Osipova and David Hallberg
Composer: Antonín Dvořák
Music: From string quartet Cypresses and other chamber music for strings
Costume Design: Patricia Zipprodt
Costume Maker: Amanda Barrow
Costume Dyer: Sheila White
Relighter: Adam Carrée
Repetiteurs: John Gardner, Amanda McKerrow

This performance of the main pas de deux, from the ballet choreographed by Antony Tudor, entitled The Leaves are Fading, is presented by arrangement with The Antony Tudor Ballet Trust. It salutes the artistry, vision and enduring relevance of Antony Tudor’s work.
This delicately nuanced pas de deux explores the reminiscence of love and the bittersweet beauty of the passing of life. As summer drifts into autumn we are reminded of the many seasons of our own lives, and how the melancholic beauty of falling blossoms and fading leaves can be seen as a greater metaphor of the infinite nature of life itself.

–The Antony Tudor Ballet Trust


Photo: © Johan Persson


Choreographer: Iván Pérez
World Premiere: 12 September 2018, Sadler’s Wells
Duration: 15 minutes
Dancers: Natalia Osipova and Jonathan Goddard
Composer: Nico Muhly
Music: Mothertongue (I. Archive II. Shower IV. Monster)
Choreographer‘s Assistant: Christopher Tandy
Costume Design: Christina Cunningham
Costume Supervisor: Peter Todd
Costume Maker: Amanda Barrow
Lighting Design: Nigel Edwards

Flutter is a vibrant dance with a simple metaphor, a jump into the abyss, stepping into the unknown. In a state of tremulous excitement, the translucent bodies of the dancers intertwine through aerial movement explorations. They appear and disappear into and from the darkness, revealing their presence upon their absence. As much of a departure as it is an arrival, the piece evokes a world in suspended flight. Its lightness is counterpointed by a hint of obscure depth, inviting the audience into its journey of discovery.

When Natalia invited me to create this piece for her and Jonathan, I felt the urge to question our relationship to the unknown and our desire to discover new territories. I was immediately inspired by the exhilarating music of the composer Nico Muhly, Mothertongue. Here, a soundscape of female voices is formed by digits extracted from addresses where Nico had lived. A kind of archive of reminiscent memories, carrying the emotional resonance of his personal journey. Natalia’s desire to create a new work in which she may discover something new about herself, through the encounter of a new movement language, has been a great inspiration for this piece and for my life.

– Iván Pérez, September 2018

Photo: © Johan Persson


Choreographer: Kim Brandstrup
World Premiere: 12 September 2018, Sadler’s Wells
Duration: 8 minutes
Dancer: David Hallberg
Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
Music: Chaconne in D-minor, part 1
Costume Design: Christina Cunningham
Lighting Design: Jean Kalman

The ‘absence’ of the title has two very different resonances. Firstly, it refers to a treasured moment in the creative process when a dancer has learnt and absorbed a new dance and sits back and just listens to the music. Withdrawing into himself he is temporarily ‘absent,’ his stillness and remote expression registering his intense concentration, totally absorbed in the music, mysteriously embodying the music while charting the movements of the choreography. David knew the Chaconne well when we started rehearsals in the studio and I was immediately struck by how he would hear and process the music in this way – his focused ‘withdrawn’ concentration was there from the first day.

A yet more mysterious sense of ‘absence’ emerged when we were working in the studio. It became a shared journey, as we tried to make sense of the huge emotional impact the music was having on us both. As the solo violin soared through the empty rehearsal room, the music made the room feel strangely empty and deserted. Even when the instrument filled the room with sound, it somehow made the space seem vast and desolate. The music intensified a sense of solitude surrounding David: he seemed alone, abandoned in a void, wrapped in an uncanny sense of something or somebody no longer being there, having left, departed, gone…

– Kim Brandstrup, September 2018


Photo: © Johan Persson


Alexei Ratmansky
World Premiere: 12 September 2018, Sadler’s Wells
Duration: 6 minutes
Dancers: Natalia Osipova and David Hallberg
Composer: Jean Sibelius
Music: Valse Triste
Costume Design: Moritz Junge
Costume Makers: For Natalia Osipova, Suzanne Parkinson from Parkinson Gill / For David Hallberg, Amanda Barrow
Costume Dyer: Nicola Killeen
Lighting Design: Adam Carrée

I have known Natalia from her early days at the Bolshoi when I was artistic director, and since then at American Ballet Theatre, where I also worked with David Hallberg. They are both very special artists, dear to my heart, and I am delighted that the three of us have been reunited to work on this piece.

Valse Triste is a short work. This “sad waltz” is by the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. It’s music that I have always wanted to dance to myself, and so has a very personal meaning to me. And now it is significant in a new way because it forms part of Natalia’s own project, with a name that I like very much. It says it all: Pure Dance.

– Alexei Ratmansky, September 2018

Photo: © Johan Persson


Choreographer: Roy Assaf
World Premiere: 4 November 2011, Curtain Up, Suzanne Dellal Centre, Israel
Duration: 22 minutes
Dancers: Natalia Osipova and Jason Kittelberger
Music: Deefly, Moonlight Sonata by Ludwig van Beethoven, Reflections of my life by
Music Editing: Reut Yehudai
Choreographer’s Assistant: Madison Hoke
Seamstress: Haya Geiman
Lighting Design: Omer Sheizaf

What event preceded this encounter?

The knowing that a certain past eventually caused the new encounter, will transport you between the obvious present and the presumed past.

We don’t know if they met, or loved, or if they hoped for more encounters. We can understand what happened during the six years preceding this moment only by what they have decided to share with us now.

A quiet meeting, embarrassed, hushed. Perhaps they remember each other, maybe they are trying to prove that these six years were not in vain.

As their gestures are passing in front of our eyes, each flicker of movement will either confirm what we thought or shatter our assumptions.

– Amir Kliger

Six Years Later is a duet for a man and a woman who find each other after a long separation. The fluid movements keep the dancers in constant contact or proximity, as they seem to rediscover a long-lost intimacy. It is a love duet full of restraint, alternating movements of great physical energy with tiny gestures of affection and love. In a string of daring contacts and inventive lifts, mirrored movements, pairs dancing or popular dance, the piece explores all the facets of a love affair. Potency, attentiveness and vulnerability are all wrapped into the heart of a work seeking unison and harmony, a balance and suspension. Roy Assaf plays with the complete grammar of choreographic virtuosity, inspired by the theme and the music: Beethoven… Music that speaks to the soul, with a whole new freshness.

Photo: © Johan Persson


Choreographer: Yuka Oishi
World Premiere: 12 September 2018, Sadler’s Wells
Duration: 7 minutes
Dancer: Natalia Osipova
Composer: Franz Schubert
Music: Ave Maria, Ellens Gesang III, D. 839 Barbara Bonney & Geoffrey Parsons
Costume Design: Stewart J. Charlesworth
Costume Maker: Kingsley Hall
Lighting Design: Adam Carrée

Despite the music, this is not a religious piece. Ave Maria is about a woman with a strength of love and sensibility.

When I started to pick a theme, intuition told me to work with Natalia‘s feminine side. I had an image of her dancing to a powerful yet beautiful song in a simple white dress to reflect this.

I believe that dance is a language which we are only able to feel. Working with Natalia, I thought I might be able to find a new way of phrasing a sentence or even finding a new language together.

– Yuka Oishi, September 2018


Photo: © Johan Persson