The Goldberg Variations are from Bach’s late period, in which the composer pushes the boundaries of musical themes in a play of variations, canons and fugues. He started from a simple and quiet melody, joined with an underlying bass line, which steadily unfolds into a musical cosmos that reveals itself with extraordinary variety and unparalleled complexity.
Together with pianists Pavel Kolesnikov and Alain Franco, choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker continues her journey with Bach. Her previous work with Bach’s The Six Brandenburg Concertos had a large cast, this piece is pared back to a solo performance danced by De Keersmaeker herself. The dance draws on the music as a blueprint for movement.
The music features one aria and thirty variations and the choreography mirrors this pattern seeking to find a form of dance capable of flexibility which retaining its essence.
[Image description] An older dancer (Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker) with long silvery hair, wearing a black dress with a deep v-neck, points off to the left, her bare feet heading in the opposite direction. Behind her, a young man (Pavel Kolesnikov) in black shorts and white vest, also barefoot, plays a grand piano. The walls and floor are black, with a scribble of gold and silver foil in a corner.
Wiener Festwochen, Concertgebouw (Brugge), De Munt / La Monnaie, Théâtre de la Ville à Paris – Théâtre du Châtelet (Paris), Internationaal Theater Amsterdam / Julidans, Sadler’s Wells (London), Montpellier Danse
Header image © Anne Van Aerschot