by Romeo Castellucci
MusicAeterna under the musical direction of
Production: Ruhrtriennale, Manchester International Festival, Perm State Opera, Parc de la Villette Paris.
choreography for 40 machines with music by Igor Strawinsky
Italian director Romeo Castellucci breaks with 100 years of performance history and returns Sacre to its material origins. In so doing, Stravinsky's machine of sound forms a central point of departure: sudden sounds, driving, overlapping rhythmic patterns, extensive repetitions. Castellucci translates all this into a choreography of bone dust. With this industrially treated animal material, which is used in agriculture as fertilizer, Castellucci refers to the motifs of sacrifice and fertility. He transforms the dust into a kind of molecular dance: "as if the dancers in the space were atomized and became a cloud of dust . . . dancing dust particles, the perpetual dance of the universe." He thus places the work at a critical distance, returning to le Sacre some of the alterity that the piece has lost on its way to becoming a classic. With his radical reinterpretation, Castellucci poses the question of whether this musical-choreographic work can still be danced today, or whether other means are necessary to experience the collision of beauty with the brutality of the sacrifice.
Using audio taken from microbiological research, Scott Gibbons' prologue underscores Stravinsky's intension that le Sacre be a "biological" ballet.