architecture and urban ballet: spatiality and form in dance

July 22, 2007 § 1 Comment

(photo by Pino Pipitone, New York Times)

Published: July 22, 2007

THE Belgian choreographer Frédéric Flamand has staged dances in empty swimming pools, abandoned churches and steel mills. “I like to explore nontraditional spaces,” he says. His interest in the body’s relationship to the spaces it inhabits has led him, in recent years, to collaborations with some of the brightest stars in architecture: Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio, Jean Nouvel, Thom Mayne and Zaha Hadid.

The word space crops up as frequently in Mr. Flamand’s conversation as it does in that of the outspoken Ms. Hadid, the 2004 Pritzker Prize winner and his collaborator on “Metapolis II.” A kaleidoscopic high-tech vision of a utopian city in the new millennium, the 70-minute work is to have its North American premiere on Wednesday during the Lincoln Center Festival. The work was first performed in 2000 as “Metapolis,” then renamed after Mr. Flamand rechoreographed it for the National Ballet of Marseille, which he has directed since 2004.

An experimental dance maker known for his preoccupation with cities, technology and mixing art forms, Mr. Flamand, 60, approached Ms. Hadid, 56, in 1999 after admiring her kinetic designs. “Zaha’s architecture is based on movement,” he said in a recent phone interview from London. “She creates a very fluid space and continuous transformation. We wanted to make the dancers dance, of course, but to make the space dance too.”

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