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2015: hell. 2016: purgatory. 2017: close to paradise. After two Ruhrtriennale seasons in which American choreographer Richard Siegal has investigated the darker sides of the afterlife, light finally appears at the end of the tunnel. According to the logic of Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’ which provides the source for Siegal’s Ruhrtriennale trilogy, Dante’s journey through the afterlife concludes with him being redeemed in heaven and reunited with Beatrice, his dead lover. But how can concepts of the heavenly and the divine be defined in the early 21st century without thinking of religious radicalism? How do universal plans of the cosmos such as Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’ resonate in a fragmented present? And can the great narratives of world literature still be brought to a conclusion?
As part of the Ruhrtriennale 2017 Richard Siegal presents the entire trilogy as one evening-long magnum opus touching on both contemporary political discourses and issues of identity. The productions created in the two previous seasons – ‘Model’ from 2015 and ‘In Medias Res’ from 2016 – will be reworked for this broader context and flow directly into the new production ‘El Dorado’. Siegal operates between classical ballet and contemporary dance in bringing together the individual parts of his trilogy of the afterlife, working chiefly with dancers from his newly-founded company Ballet of Difference. They take the audience with them on a tour de force through the inferno, up the mountain of purgatory and on into paradise. In Richard Siegal’s work paradise appears as a utopian ‘El Dorado’, in which projections of the divine merge with a human identity crisis.
Only two dancers remain in Siegal’s vision of paradise: here Corey Scott-Gilbert (34), who has already played major roles in both the previous works, meets 77-year-old Gus Solomons Jr., who as both a dancer and choreographer had a formative influence on the style of postmodern dance. The incarnation of the virtuous Beatrice hovers between them as a puzzling illusion between age and youth, between love and narcissistic desire, between the self and the other.
Dancer Model -
Léonard Engel, Katherina Markowskaja, Claudia Ortiz Arraiza, Kévin Quinaou, Matthew Rich, Corey Scott-Gilbert, Diego Tortelli, Vânia Vaz, Lucas Valente, Zuzana Zahradnikova
Dancer In Medias Res - Kévin Quinaou, Corey Scott-Gilbert, Diego Tortelli, Vânia Vaz
Dancer El Dorado - Corey Scott-Gilbert, Gus Solomons jr.
Extra El Dorado - Sandra Balkmann
Speaker / Double Bass - Frédéric Stochl
Cello - Zoë Martlew