Bayadère – The Ninth Life (2017)
Bayadère – The Ninth Life is a radical reimagining of Marius Petipa’s legendary ballet La Bayadère. More than a retelling, it searches for the roots of the Bayadère temple dancer herself, and the allure she has exerted in Europe over the centuries.
The words of the celebrated French writer Théophile Gautier, who recorded his ambiguous impressions of Indian temple dancers in 1838, add to the rich mix of Gabriel Prokofiev’s specially commissioned score to form a unique and personal work.
Following its premiere at the Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House in 2015, this new production tours with a bold new design by the award-winning Tom Piper who co-created the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red poppy installation at the Tower of London.
Jeyasingh embodies (Gautier’s) confusion brilliantly, both in the dangerously sinuous choreography she gives to the lead devadasi (a woman danced by a man) and in the way she uses her remaining eight dancers to portray, simultaneously, the visceral intensity of the devadasis and the wary fascination of their observers.
Shobana Jeyasingh is an extremely gifted choreographer and a long-time cultural interrogator. With this novel and typically tightly constructed take on the 19th-century classical ballet warhorse La Bayadère she reconfirms her status as one of the UK’s more stimulating artists.
This is by any measure a remarkable work: intelligent, thought-provoking, immensely accomplished in its choreography, staging and dancing.
… keep the words Shobana Jeyasingh Dance very much at the forefront of your mind!
… utterly mesmerising
In this strange other-world of dappled light created by Fabiana Piccioli to haunting sounds from Gabriel Prokofiev, Jeyasingh choreographs her own bayadère to magical effect. Subramaniam, a charismatic performer, create(s) moments of luminous beauty…
… Jeyasingh has a distinctive approach to partnering that discovers untrammelled paths.
Bayadère – The Ninth Life was originally commissioned by The Royal Ballet Studio Programme in 2015.
Music by Gabriel Prokofiev, performed by arrangement with Mute Song Ltd, London.
Photos: Chris Nash, Dancer: Sooraj Subramaniam
Bayadère – The Ninth Life would not be possible without the generous support from our major donors: Deborah Loeb Brice Foundation, Garcia Family Foundation, Dr. Michael and Anna Brynberg Charitable Foundation and Oak Foundation. Shobana Jeyasingh Dance would also like to thank all our other important donors, and their support is credited here.
For more information on Bayadère – The Ninth Life (2015)