Proietto has created a link to the original Tennyson poem incorporating a boy soprano to sing the first stanzas ‘almost as a lullaby’.
A little bit of a back story was introduced as they discussed the relevance for someone watching. “When is the first moment a child realises that we are all going to die? I thought to have that consciousness of the boy looking for the first time at a creature dying.”
“Because my inspiration was the original clip I brought this into the piece. We filmed the dancer with a replica of the original costume and we replicated a lot of the material Pavlova was doing in that video.
Then we gave it a lot of texture so it looks like we are watching the old film on stage.”
Proietto admitted nostalgia for the way ballet was done in those days, particularly the musicality and the attention to style and detail. “When I watched the video it is like ‘wow’, it is so perfectly done, in beautiful synch with the music. I’m always looking on Youtube for old videos of the people who shaped the dance of today.”
I had heard rumours of Proietto himself in a tutu and asked it he was the performer but no, his swan is Camilla Spidsøe who alternates with Samantha Lynch. He and Spidsøe have worked together before – their duet won an award at the 2007 Hanover Choreographic competition. But he admitted, “I was in a tutu in rehearsals. For me the tutu is very sculptural. The diameter is so big and it shifts so much wherever you move your pelvis - it changes the whole space. So I use the tutu for quite a while and, of course, the company was laughing a lot about that.”
For Cygne he sought the challenge of choreographing on another dancer. “I feel you shouldn’t only use your own abilities. I want to develop my talent; to create outside my own body. I have been very lucky to work with many different choreographers and in very different styles which is what I wanted ever since I was very young. I wanted to be versatile and to learn different ways. When I started my own way of moving it was really a mix of many teachers and choreographers who have modelled me and the way I move.”