Backstage

Drumming Live enters the Paris Opera Ballet’s repertoire

A photo reportage — By Octave

The fifth of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s ballets to enter the Paris Opera Ballet's repertoire, Drumming Live is a group piece that pushes its performers to the physical limits in a collective trance. Structures as spatial as they are choreographic are essential; both are in complete osmosis with Steve Reich’s score. With Drumming Live, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker combines precision of construction with vigour of expression, sculpting space, time and the energy of her dancers. Photographer Agathe Poupeney was able to capture several moments from this frenetic sprint. Commentary by the ballet coach Jakub Truszkowski, a dancer from the Rosas Company who is passing the work on to the dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet. 

Drumming Live, avec les danseurs de l’Opéra de Paris
Drumming Live, avec les danseurs de l’Opéra de Paris © Agathe Poupeney / OnP

Commentary: “Historically, Drumming opened a new chapter in the work of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, returning to something highly architectural and aesthetic without a narrative line. It is a work based on a single choreographic phrase repeated and manipulated in every possible combination for an hour. It’s quasi-mathematical. It is fascinating to see how, starting with the simple idea of developing a single phrase, we achieve such dynamic choreography.”

Drumming Live, avec les danseurs de l’Opéra de Paris
Drumming Live, avec les danseurs de l’Opéra de Paris © Agathe Poupeney / OnP

Commentary: “It’s an extremely accessible piece on many levels. It’s energetic, inspiring. The audience can enter this choreographic and musical trance without knowing Anne Teresa’s language. It is also a didactic piece which reveals a great deal about the choreographer's work in her spatial and musical structures. The musical score is interpreted in its entirety on stage as the dancers progress through space and move on stage.”

La Première Danseuse Muriel Zusperreguy et le répétiteur Jakub Truszkowski
La Première Danseuse Muriel Zusperreguy et le répétiteur Jakub Truszkowski © Agathe Poupeney / OnP

Commentary: “Each dancer has their own spiral and their own specific trajectory. Nothing in the piece is accidental. Each movement and each interaction between the dancers is born out of a specific intention. There is a perfect balance between the constraints it imposes on the dancers and the freedom it gives them in their choreographic interpretation.”

Daniel Stokes et la répétitrice Cynthia Loemij
Daniel Stokes et la répétitrice Cynthia Loemij © Agathe Poupeney / OnP

Commentary: “Anne Teresa visualises the music. She is extremely precise in her analysis of the musical structure. She then tries to take account of her inspiration and understanding to represent it through movement.”

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