Mats Ek presents his last ever piece of choreography tonight until 10 January in Paris at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées on the first stop of his farewell tour. He is 70.
The programme presents three pieces under the title, From Black to Blue.
She Was Black is from 1994, and will be performed by dancers from the Semperoper Ballett Dresden. The 1996 work Solo for 2 features Dorothée Delabie and Oscar Salomonsson. The last piece, and also his final choreography, is called Hâche, created, appropriately, for his wife and muse, Ana Laguna, who will dance with Yvan Auzely. The work uses music by Albinoni, with sets and costumes by Katrin Brännström together with Jörgen Jansson's lighting.
Along with his retirement comes the surprising announcement that he will be withdrawing the rights to perform his works from companies across the world. Le Figaro reports that as he is obsessed with perfection he no longer wants he pieces to be staged if he is not available to oversee the rehearsal process.
No more performances of Giselle? Apartment? And in Japan, Sylvie Guillem has just said adieu to his touching piece Bye at the end on her final tour.
‘Bye Mats Ek?
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.
I would say that it is too much to withdraw the rights to perform his works worlwide.
Already this performing art is only for a few people if also you do not let them spread it around for whom are you doing all this creative work? For a small elite? And what is all this perfection about when today the technical level of dancers is really very high?
I have so much respect for him and his decision to pull the plug on the rights to perform his works in the future after his retirement. That is what dance is in the first place – an ephemeral artform that is best shared in real time. There are so many videos of his works anyway.
This decision also shows his humility – That something he has created does not need to perpetuate past his career; that when he retires, he vacates and creates space for others.
And for those who lament such decisions I ask u, why do we keep wanting to perpetuate something to eternity when our very time on earth is finite?
It is like my other idol, merce cunningham, who instructed that his company be closed when he passed on.
Vacating a space is a noble thing.
For those who have experienced it, revelling in a fading memory is a gorgeous act
For those who have not been privvy to the experience, the space is now yours to fill with your ideas.
Hmm. And every piece of music, play, or other form of performance art whose creator is dead should be destroyed?
🙁 again we will have to rely on videos
Wow, that’s pretty final
Mats Ek is extremely arrogant , selfish man. His work is also boring self indulged
It is of course entirely his prerogative to withdraw his choreography, personally I’m in two minds about it. I have not worked with him so I don’t know enough about his choreographic process, but in my personal experience of working with contemporary choreographers, it is usually a collaborative process. In that sense, though he put his name to those pieces, they also belong in some small part to the dancers who were part of the creative process. And they don’t get to have a say in this decision. He’s also depriving the dance world in general of some really seminal work, which has widened the horizons of contemporary dance forever.
On the other hand, there’s nothing worse than seeing a dance piece hacked to bits and badly restaged because the choreographer is no longer around to do or say anything about it, and the people entrusted with his/her legacy seem unable to safeguard the integrity of that work. I’ve seen it time and time again (a recent example is Peter Darrell’s work at Scottish Ballet) and it’s upsetting, so from that point of view I can only agree with Mats Ek’s decision. His work has left its mark, that can never be changed, but at least this way it cannot be corrupted.
What a great favor to the world of ballet!