Co-choreographed with Tom Sapsford for a 2007 London performance, Sleeping Beauty and friends is the realization of Karen Kilimnik’s decades-long dream to choreograph a ballet. Her Sleeping Beauty combines altered excerpts from four nineteenth century story ballets. The fifty-minute performance begins with the opening scene of the earliest ballet of the group, Bournonville’s La Sylphide (1836), whose principal’s more natural movements and soft, ankle-length tutu characterize romantic era ballets. Wending its way through time and costume changes, the mélange ends with the grand finale of Petipa’s Don Quixote (1869). Sleeping Beauty is cheekily absent from the offerings, yet the virtuosic variations Kilimnik chose nod towards Beauty’s famously difficult choreography. The videotape that the artist shot of the performance is delightfully idiosyncratic and amateurish. It counterpoints ballet’s perfectionism while at the same time penetrating the core of its intense beauty and emotionalism.
This screening is being presented in conjunction with the deYoung’s exhibition, Rudolf Nureyev: A Life in Dance.