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“Here is where the movements of the dancers, all the while preserving the discipline of classical technique as they weave and unweave, strike us with their self control and absence of any hurriedness or tension; there is not the slightest constraint among the contiguous or juxtaposed pairs who are dancing together or opposite one another. Everything is strictly in place, measured, firm and in harmonic accord with the rhythm and tempo that flow from the orchestra.”

Akim Volynsky 1861-1926

Russian art historian and journalist on the corps de ballet

 

This description applies to Baroque dance forms as much – or even more – than it does to later styles. I have always enjoyed creating choreography for a large number of dancers because of the powerful spiritual quality that emanates from a group of people working harmoniously together, with a common sense of serving the art form. Mozart’s music for the Dance of the Priests encourages this selfless quality in its gravitas and ordered calm. The dancers’ movements are in the noble style of the late eighteenth century. This legacy of the Ancien Régime, with its sense of harmony, balance and human dignity reflecting an enlightened mind, becomes a visual statement about Sarastro and the ideas that he represents.

 

“If I appreciate so highly the value of classical dance, it is not simply a matter of taste on my part, but because I see exactly in it the perfect expression of the Apollonian principle.”

Igor Stravinsky

 

-Jeannette Lajeunesse Zingg

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