The internationally famed Dutch choreographer Nils Christe made his first choreography for Introdans, Rounds, in 1981. Now, 40 years on, the Introdans repertoire contains no less than 25 works by this master of pure dance, whose ballets are danced by more than 70 companies worldwide.
Introdans is marking this special jubilee with the festive CELEBRATING NILS, comprising two of Christe’s hit productions from the past four decades: Fünf Gedichte and Le Sacre du Printemps. The uniting element in these two works is their tangible and visible musicality, right down to the last detail. This results from Christe’s huge knowledge and understanding of music and the extensive analysis he makes for each composition that he uses in his work. This is why his ballets seem to be a natural continuation and also amplification of the sound world created by the composer.
Fünf Gedichte | choreography Nils Christe
Our selection from Christe’s dance treasury begins with Fünf Gedichte, which he originally made to mark the 25th jubilee of Introdans. Now this choreography returns to the repertoire on the eve of Introdans’ 50th jubilee. Fünf Gedichte is a wonderful, hushed and subtle ode to the transition from life to death, inspired by Richard Wagner’s romantic Wesendonck Lieder. Against the decor background of a Dutch sky with clouds (design Keso Dekker), Christe created a highly sensitive but at the same time powerful work. The highlights include the solo by a dancer who embodies a higher power or angel, and three emotionally charged duets revolving around attachment, melancholy and passion.
Le Sacre du Printemps | choreography Nils Christe
The crowning glory in CELEBRATING NILS is Christe’s universally celebrated choreography Le Sacre du Printemps, which in its performance by Introdans in 2011 brought him a nomination for the Swan Award for ‘Most impressive dance production’. The jury described the work as “a little miracle”. Many choreographers have already faced the challenge of matching their skills to Igor Stravinsky’s iconic composition, written for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes in 1913, but few have passed this ‘test’ with such success as Christe. In his majestic magnum opus he found a highly individual, original approach to the extremely complex music and the accompanying story about the ritual sacrifice of a virgin. The jury of the Swan Award wrote: “Christe follows the driving character of the composition, but he never falls into the ever-present trap of ‘music illustration’. His Sacre is exciting, but remains taut and clear.”
‘Deepest instinct become body. And literally dancing yourself to death. It is overwhelmingly beautiful.'
De Gelderlander on Le Sacre du Printemps
‘Christe remains on his feet where many have stumbled over Stravinsky’s overwhelming music.'
NRC Handelsblad on Le Sacre du Printemps, top 5 best dance productions of 2011
An ode to Nils Christe