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Digital Stage of the Royal Swedish Ballet: Dance film RIPTIDE

Aktualisiert: 17. Aug. 2021


The Royal Swedish Ballet closed the most digital of all ballet seasons ever seen with Riptide, the first major dance performance created by the Icelandic choreographer and dancer Hlín Hjálmarsdóttir. After so many ballet and dance performances seen through a screen instead of in a theater, a certain digital fatigue can be the aftertaste of the season 2020/2021, but not with this new emerging genre!

Lately I have been leaving digital stages aside, opting for real ones since June, when theaters started to reopen in Switzerland. I even got to see a live performance on the studio stage of Béjart Ballet in Lausanne on 17 June.

However, Riptide is a dance piece of 36 minutes, which incorporates captivating visual elements of scenography, costume, lighting, music and movements, specifically arranged for the eye of a camera and not for live audience. Depicting the ancient and timeless theme of exclusion, it hypnotizes through electric rhythms, in the first half tribal and reminiscent of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring and in the second calmer and more contemplative music. The stage dimensions fade through intelligent camera takes which follow their own choreography. It seems as if the dance performance is happening in an empty and dark warehouse at some point in hopefully far future on a planet which is no longer green. Maybe it is the effect of this grey and rainy summer which influences my perception.

I was curious to hear more about the creation process and wanted to see the Premiere Talk, which can be found below the dance performance video, but it is only in Swedish without English subtitles. Interestingly, all social media and digital contents the Royal Swedish Ballet releases are only in Swedish and there are no subtitles as far as I could see checking their latest posts on Facebook and Instagram.

Luckily, the dance film itself does not require any knowledge of the Swedish language and will remain online until 21 August on the website of the Royal Swedish Ballet.

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