Date: Saturday, September 30, 2023
CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC: Due to the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases and the pending world premiere of this piece, BAC + the artists have decided to close “Christopher Williams Dance Work-in-Process Showing” to the public out of safety precautions.
While at Bethany, Christopher is continuing his ongoing current project ‘Queering’ the Canon: Reimagining the Ballets Russes. Christopher Williams will create, rehearse and present a work in process of choreographic material for two new original ballets in preparation for their world premières at Baryshnikov Arts Center in October 2023 featuring costume and lighting designs by longtime collaborators Andrew Jordan and Joe Levasseur.
Jeux, set to Claude Debussy’s eponymous poème dansé composed in 1912 for the Ballets Russes, is a queer reimagining of Vaslav Nijinsky’s original ballet (the title of which means “games” in French). The work will be presented as a “double” version of itself initially foregrounding Diaghilev’s overlooked fantasy that the scenario describe a homosexual encounter between three young men and then reprising as a women’s trio with the men reappearing like revenants, shadowy wraiths, or zombies from a disastrous event – in Williams’s version a plane crash – an event apparently envisioned by Nijinsky for his original. Games playing with the presentation of gender in the costumes and on the binaries light and shadow, life and death, and the concept of tennis match “doubles” with winners and losers incorporates and further abstracts the sporty theme of the original.
A Child’s Tale, reimagines Massine’s 1917 ballet Contes Russes (meaning “Russian Tales” in French) originally performed in four parts: Kikimora (which was first produced as a separate work in 1916), Bova Korolevitch and the Swan Princess, Baba Yaga, and Kolyada-Malyada, to which two more scenes were added for later London performances billed as Children’s Tales. Set to Anatoly Lyadov’s series of short orchestral works Eight Russian Folksongs for Orchestra, Baba Yaga, Op. 56, and Kikimora, Op. 63, Williams’s version tells a folkloric tale of newlyweds who lose a child and find an orphan via the machinations of those fascinating denizens of Slavic myth, the mysterious house spirit Kikimora and the infamous witch Baba Yaga, whose house roams the forest on chicken legs.