News: Further performances & a special Olivier award for Sylvie Guillem announced

Wednesday 18 March 2015 by Carmel Smith

Sylvie Guillem in Mats Ek's 'Bye'.

Further dates have been announced for Sylvie Guillem’s final dance programme Life in Progress. In London, in addition to the sold out performances at Sadler’s Wells (where she is an Associate Artist) in May, the world renowned dancer will also be performing at the London Coliseum from Tues 28 July – Sun 2 August. Also announced are dates at the Edinburgh Festival Sat 8 – Mon 10 August, with Sylvie Guillem’s last UK performances to take place at Birmingham Hippodrome (Tue 8 & Wed 9 September 2015). Her final performances ever will take place in Tokyo at the end of the year (17 – 20 December).

Sadler’s Wells Artistic Director and CEO Alistair Spalding said: “When we announced Life in Progress as part of our spring programme last November, tickets for Sylvie’s final performances at Sadler’s Wells sold out within five days. Since then, we have seen an unprecedented demand for tickets not just in London, but throughout the country. We are so pleased now to be able to offer more opportunities for people to see her in London, Edinburgh and Birmingham. These additional dates reflect our ongoing commitment to providing access to as large an audience as possible to world-class dance, by touring productions around the UK as well as internationally.”

Life in Progress features both existing and new works by choreographers who have influenced her contemporary career. The international tour opens in Modena, Italy, later this month (31 March). The new works include techne a solo by choreographer and Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Akram Khan. “My work grows out of the questions I don’t know how to answer,” he says. “I ask questions and tell stories through the body. I use technology to connect with more people, more often. But are we more connected now than we used to be? Or are we connecting with the technology itself rather than with people? No computer can answer this question. But perhaps the body can…”

Guillem also performs a pas de deux with Italian dancer Emanuela Montanari from La Scala, choreographed and directed by Russell Maliphant with lighting by Michael Hulls, both of whom are Associate Artists of the theatre and who choreographed and lit the award-winning PUSH. In Here & After, Maliphant acknowledges his past works and experiences with Sylvie, whilst moving on and exploring a vocabulary that shows contrast, with a female duet partnership.

Existing works – Mats Ek’s touching and poignant solo, Bye , made especially for Guillem and performed as part of the 6000 miles away and William Forsythe’s Duo from 1996 and performed by two male dancers – are also part of the programme.

The Society of London Theatre announced today that Sylvie Guillem will receive a Special Award at the Olivier Awards 2015 with MasterCard’s ceremony on Sunday 12 April at the Royal Opera House, in recognition of her many achievements over the course of an extraordinary 39 year career.

Sylvie Guillem was born in Paris and as a child, trained in gymnastics, only coming to ballet at the age of 11 in 1977, when she began training at the Paris Opera Ballet School and in 1981 joined the company’s corps de ballet. She was promoted to the rank of Etoile by Rudolf Nureyev at the age of 19. Since then she has performed all the leading roles of the classical repertoire with the world’s leading companies including The Royal Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, Kirov, Tokyo Ballet, Australian Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and La Scala.

In 2003 her first collaboration with Russell Maliphant, lighting designer Michael Hulls and Balletboyz Michael Nunn and William Trevitt in Broken Fall was premiered at the Royal Opera House and subsequently in 2004 at Sadler’s Wells – where all are now Associate Artists. It was followed swiftly by the multi-award winning Sadler’s Wells production PUSH, which premiered at the theatre in 2005. She collaborated with celebrated dancer and choreographer, Akram Khan for Sacred Monsters, which premiered at Sadler’s Wells in 2006, the same year in which she she became an Associate Artist at the theatre.

In 2009 she collaborated with Robert Lepage and Russell Maliphant for Eonnagata, with costumes by Alexander McQueen. Most recently, she devised and performed in the 2011 Sadler’s Wells/ Sylvie Guillem production 6000 miles away, featuring works by three of today’s most important choreographers: Mats Ek, William Forsythe and Jirí Kylián.

Her awards include the Officier de la Légion d’Honneur, Commander dans l’Ordre National du Mérite, Officier des Arts et Lettres and in Britain, an honorary CBE. She is the only dancer to have been awarded a Leone D’Oro at Venice Biennale.

Tickets for Life in Progress at the London Coliseum are on general sale on Thursday 18 March at 10am and

Life in Progress tour dates & venues
31 March, Teatro Communale, Modena, Italy
2 April, Equilibrio Festival, Sala Santa Cecilia, Auditorium Parco della Musica, Rome, Italy
15 & 16 May, Lodz International Ballet Festival, Lodz, Poland
26 – 31 May, Sadler’s Wells, London, UK
3 & 4 June, Athens & Epidauras Festival, Athens, Greece
23 – 26 June, Chekhov Festival, Moscow, Russia
29 June – 2 July, Les Nuits de Fourvière, Lyon, France
5 July, Genova Opera House, Genova, Italy
28 July – 2 August, London Coliseum, London, UK
8 – 10 August, Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh, UK
8 & 9 September, Birmingham Hippodrome, Birmingham, UK
3 & 4 October, National Theatre, Taipei
2 December, Festspielhaus, St Polten, Austria
17 – 20 December, NBS, Tokyo, Japan

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