Mort is a piece choreographed by Sir Julian for the Underlined Dana Theatre. It is part of a group of six pieces, called the Black and White ballets, all choreographed by Julian. Petite Mort was filmed for the first time in 1 996 and is still being performed in theatres all over the world today. The lasted being in America by the American Dance theatre under the guidance of Alvin Alley. The piece starts of with male dancers playing around with fencing gear, as the women remain silent standing in the shadows upstage.
The piece then continues with women gliding onto stage with sculpture like black gowns that they push around themselves while dancing around and with them. After the women disappear into the shadows again, three couples come on one after the other. Sir Skylark’s choreography Is challenging In Its nature and clearly so to the audience as it sometimes even coaxes out giggles and gasps. It is a highly physical match of ballet and modern dance. Like all of the pieces in the Black an White ballets, Petite Mort has definite and clear sexual themes that explore themselves in the confines of the movements. Petite Mort”, the title, translates Into ‘Orgasm’ and with Clan’s clear understanding of the term It evolves Itself Into clear and amazing Images. The men with their fencing movement signifies and emotes the masculinity of men in the relationship, while the women with their gowns signifies the power they have through their appearances. The gowns give the illusion of being attached to the women, but then we are shown they are not. This gives the women further power as they can control their appearances.
These two routines are, or can be, symbolic for the sexual roles of each gender – the men are protectors and lead with their tools, while women are supporters not without their own armor. The piece then continues and evolves into being more about the physical action of sexual intercourse itself. In the partners we are taken through a number of deferent images and meanings through the variety of movement they do. At times we see the man dominating the movements of the woman. We see this mostly in the lifts and guiding hand gestures of the men.
As I watch It, I am reminded of a puppet/puppeteer relationship. We also see the relationship between man and woman In the act of sex. The women engages with the men through a series of twitching, pulsing and even contorting movements as the men follow it like a dog after a bone. The use of music and lighting is very contributory. The stage is bathed in golden light with shadows strategically placed around the edges. The use of back lighting Is also be reflective of the ‘behind-doors’ reputation of sex. The music used is that of Knolling Amadeus Mozart.
The choreography gives the illusion that it is a physical representation of the music itself and it even opens the music, its unique rhythms and the sexual, romantic undertones of the music, up to the listener. The use of the classical genre is also effectively contradicting to the contemporary style of movement. Ere piece is very refreshing and amazed me while broadening my scope of ballet Interpretations. I feel that Julian meritoriously did the controversial theme of sex justice while also contributing to a revolutionary new style of fusion dancing.