The Russian Ballets: an Ongoing Revolution Duets, performances, creations

Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 October 2016

8.30 p.m.
spectacle-inaugural-ballets-russes header
The Russian Ballets: an Ongoing Revolution Duets, performances, creations

Twentieth-century classics and figures of Les Ballets Russes were the inspiration for this spectacular showcase event, which sees artists from diverse dance backgrounds took a leap in an exciting new direction with original interpretations of legendary ballets The Firebird, The Dying Swan and The Faun.    



Screening of the film Les Ballets Russes de Nijinksy directed and produced by Christian Comte.

Lil Buck - The Dying Swan

Daisy Phillips and James O'Hara - Faun, duet by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui

Lil Buck - original work

Marie-Agnès Gillot and Friedemann Vogel - The Fire bird, a reinterpretation for Fondation Vuitton by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui


Lil Buck

American dancer Lil Buck maked his debut on the Parisian stage with an interpretation of The Dying Swan and presented an original work for FLV on Petruchka.


Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui

Marie-Agnès Gillot, principal dancer of the Paris Opera Ballet, and Friedemann Vogel, principal dancer of the Stuttgart Ballet, performed an original duet, an extract from The Firebird choreographed by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui


Faun : Daisy Phillips and James O'Hara delivered a dazzling revival of this duet choreographed by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui.

the artists

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s debut as a choreographer was in 1999 with Andrew Wale’s contemporary musical, Anonymous Society. 

Since then he has made over 30 full-fledged choreographic pieces and picked up a slew of awards, including two Olivier Awards, two Ballet Tanz awards for best choreographer (2008, 2011) and the Kairos Prize (2009) for his artistic vision and his quest for intercultural dialogue.

Cherkaoui’s earlier pieces were made at Les Ballets C. de la B. –Rien de Rien (2000),  Foi  (2003) and Tempus Fugit  (2004). He undertook parallel projects that both expanded and consolidated his artistic vision ; D’avant (2002) with longstanding artistic partner Damien Jalet at Sasha Waltz & Guests company, and zero degrees (2005) with Akram Khan. From 2004 to 2009, Cherkaoui was based in Antwerp as artist in residence at Toneelhuis, which produced Myth (2007) andOrigine (2008).

In 2008, Cherkaoui premiered Sutra at Sadler’s Wells. This award-winning collaboration with artist Antony Gormley and the Shaolin monks continues to tour the world to great critical acclaim. After his first commissioned piece in North America, Orbo Novo (Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet) and a series of duets such as Faun (which premiered at Sadler’s Wells as part of In the Spirit of Diaghilev) and Dunas with flamenco dancer María Pagés (both 2009), in 2010, Cherkaoui launched his own company Eastman, currently resident at deSingel International Arts Campus (Antwerp).

Spring 2010 saw him reunited with choreographer Damien Jalet and Antony Gormley to make Babel (words) which won an Olivier. That same year he created Rein, a duet featuring Guro Nagelhus Schia and Vebjørn Sundby, as well as Play, a duet with Kuchipudi danseuse Shantala Shivalingappa and Bound, a duet for Shanell Winlock and Gregory Maqoma as part of Southern Bound Comfort. In 2011 he created TeZukA- his homage to Osamu Tezuka, the founding father of modern manga - and Labyrinth for the Dutch National Ballet. In 2012, he created Puz/zle Eastman, which won him a second Olivier. In the same year, he also collaborated with Joe Wright on his feature film Anna Karenina, for which Cherkaoui received international acclaim for his choreography.

2013 saw the premiere of 4D and genesis 生长(Eastman)Boléro (co-created with Damien Jalet and Marina Abramović, for the Paris Opera Ballet), and m¡longa(Sadler’s Wells). He reunited with Joe Wright to co-direct A Season in the Congo at The Young Vic. In 2014, he created Noetic for the GöteborgsOperans Danskompani, Mercy (from Solo for Two) for Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev, which they performed at the London Coliseum. In the same year, he directed his first opera, Shell Shock, with music by Nicholas Lens and text by Nick Cave, for La Monnaie, in commemoration of the centenary of World War I.

In January 2015, Cherkaoui directed Pluto - a new theatre adaptation based on Naoki Urasawa’s much loved manga by the same name – and the Bunkamura production premiered in Tokyo to rave reviews. From there, he went to Germany and choreographed a ballet piece on Stravinsky’s Firebird for the Stuttgart Ballet, which premiered in March to critical acclaim. This was followed closely by the premiere of Harbor Me - a commission by LA Dance Project – in Paris, and the premiere of Frame[d]- a re-creation of Babel for the National Youth Dance Company – at Sadler’s Wells, as the Guest Artistic Director of the company for 2015. Later that year, Cherkaoui worked on the movement for Hamlet at the Barbican in London, directed by Lyndsey Turner and starring Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role. Fractus V - the latest company piece for his company Eastman - premiered in September 2015 in Antwerp and is currently touring internationally.

Since his appointment as the artistic director of the Royal Ballet of Flanders in 2015, Cherkaoui has created two critically acclaimed works for the Ballet : Fall in October last year, andPictures at An Exhibition in May this year for an evening of Ravel. He was also commissioned by the Paris Opera Ballet to make a new version of Nutcracker, featuring choreography by three choreographers : Cherkaoui, Edouard Lock and Arthur Pita, which premiered in Paris in March 2016.


Cherkaoui has been an Associate Artist of Sadler’s Wells since 2008. In addition to his dual roles as artistic director of Eastman and of the Royal Ballet of Flanders, he continues working with a variety of theatres, opera houses and ballet companies. In March 2016, he was conferred an honorary doctorate by the University of Antwerp for his outstanding contribution to the field of contemporary dance.

Lil Buck

International phenomenon LIL BUCK began jookin’ – a street dance that originated in Memphis – at age 13 alongside mentors Marico Flake and Daniel Price.  

After receiving early hip-hop training from Teran Garry and ballet training on scholarship at the New Ballet Ensemble, he performed and choreographed until relocating to Los Angeles in 2009. Named one of Dance Magazine’s 25 to Watch, his collaboration with Spike Jonze and Yo-Yo Ma performing The Swan went viral in 2011.  This opened the door to collaborating with a broad range of renowned artists ranging from Janelle Monae to JR and the New York City Ballet to Madonna. Buck is acclaimed as a versatile artist and channels his creativity and charisma into works spanning the performing arts, commercial endeavors, and is a vocal advocate of arts education with a firm belief that art facilitates the learning of everything else.

Buck was the 2011 Artist in Residence at the Vail International Dance Festival and also served as an artistic ambassador alongside Yo-Yo Ma at the US-China Forum on the Arts and Culture in Beijing.  Following a performance for Madonna at her Super Bowl halftime show, he joined her MDNA tour and continued with modeling appearances for The Gap, GQ, the cover of Dance magazine, the Spike Jonze film Her, NOWNESS videos directed by Benjamin Millepied, dancing in Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson : One.  He recently performed for TEDx Teen and JR’s spring premiere for the New York City Ballet, and spoke at the Aspen Ideas Festival.

"I’ve been performing the Dying Swan for a number of years now and every time I perform it, it’s different. It’s about the personal connection I have to the music, performer, and the environment of the music. It's about the chemistry, and energy with the performer of the music. I’m excited to perform at the Louis Vuitton Foundation for the first time amongst the finest ballet stars and show my own unique experience of this classic piece, drawing from my Memphis jookin background.  

Petrouchka’s story has a particular appeal to me with my life's experiences and being a creature whose emotion inspires the moves. There is a lot of correlations I can make about a tragic puppet story especially as it explores strong human emotions like love, jealousy and rage.  These are the emotions I feel are closer to the heart. I look forward to sharing my interpretation of the piece with the pianist."

Lil Buck

Marie-Agnès Gillot

Principal dancer of the Paris Opera Ballet

Marie-Agnès Gillot made her first foray into dance in her home town of Caen in France. She entered the Paris Opera Ballet School in 1985. Five years later, at the age of 15, she was accepted to the company with a dispensation. She placed as a finalist in the 15th Varna International Ballet Competition in 1992. She was promoted to Sujet in 1994 and to Prima Ballerina in 1999. On 18 March 2004 she became the first Principal Dancer to be nominated for dancing a contemporary ballet, following her performance of Signes by Carolyn Carlson.

Marie-Agnès Gillot, a faithful interpreter of the great classical ballets, is highly sought after by contemporary choreographers. She blends power and fragility, playing by turns the femme fatale (as The Stranger in Roland Petit’s Clavigo, or Melody in Maurice Béjart’s Bolero), and characters that are romantic (Catherine in Kader Belarbi’s Wuthering Heights, or Pina Bausch’s Eurydice), cruel (Medea in Le Songe de Médée by Angelin Preljocaj), and impertinent (the servant in Mats Ek’sThe House of Bernarda).

She has contributed her virtuoso technique to works by Edouard Lock (AndréAuria), Wayne McGregor (Genus, L’Anatomie de la Sensation), Benjamin Millepied (Triade), Jiří Kylián (Kaguyahime), William Forsythe (The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, Approximate Sonata), Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Damien Jalet (Bolero), to name but a few. For Sophie Calle, who represented France at the Venice Biennale in 2007, she performed Prenez Soin De Vous, and danced with real swans in Luc Petton’s ballet Swan at Chaillot Theatre in 2012.

Marie-Agnès Gillot exhibits similarly eclectic tastes in her choreography. She organised a flash mob at the Louvre and appeared in a music video for Benjamin Biolay. Her short pieces are presented at charity fundraising events at the Paris Opera. In 2007 she turned heads with her choreography in Rares Différences, a piece for hip hop dancers, at the Suresnes dance festival. In this autobiographical ballet inspired by the work of Rodin, Gillot sculpted the material directly on the dancers.

In 2009 she created ART ÈRE, to the music of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Trio Elégiaque, for the Junior Ballet at the Paris Conservatory. In 2011 she appeared on stage alongside Alice Renavand at the Un Violon sur le Sable festival in Royan, France, in two pieces : Blanche Marine, which she choreographed to the music of Aquarium from Camille Saint-Saëns’ The Carnival of the Animals, and Black Back, to the music of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto. 

In October 2012 she presented Sous Apparence, her first original work for the Opera Ballet Paris.

Since then she has expanded her repertoire with revivals of Palais de Cristal by George Balanchine and Orpheus and Eurydice by Pina Bausch, as well as original works for Benjamin Millepied and Wayne McGregor in 2015.

In November 2009 she organised a flash mob under the Louvre pyramid in aid of children’s charity La Chaîne de l’Espoir. She also works with AIDS charity ICCARRE, for which she choreographed a duet performed with Blanca Li at a fundraiser held at Maison Jean-Paul Gaultier in December 2014.

She has appeared in music videos for REM and Benjamin Biolay, performed recently with Marianne Faithfull and Katia and Marielle Labèque, and appeared at the Enfoirés annual charity concert.

She performs on stage and screen with Pippo Delbono and is the face of luxury brands Celine and Repetto.

Two of her works are exhibited at Palais de Tokyo.

She is a Dame of the Legion of Honour, the Order of Merit, and the Order of Arts and Letters.

Friedemann Vogel

Friedemann Vogel was born in Stuttgart, Germany, completed his ballet training at the Princess Grace Academy of Classical Dance in Monte Carlo with the John Gilpin scolarship from Princess Antoniette de Monaco. 

He showed his outstanding talent by winning several international ballet competition awards.  In 1997, he won the Prix de Lausanne, the Gold medal in the Prix de Luxembourg, the Eurocity competition in Italy and in 1998 he won the Jackson Competition in the USA.
In September 1998, Friedemann Vogel joined the Stuttgart Ballet and quickly rose through the ranks. 

In 2002 he was promoted to first soloist, the company's highest rank. In the same year he also won the much-coveted Erik Bruhn Prize in Toronto Canada. Friedemann Vogel was elected Dancer of the Year 2010 by the international dance critics survey of the magazine TANZ and In June 2012 Friedemann was named by the Italian dance magazine Danza&Danza as best male dancer. His repertory includes title roles in the classics, as well as principal roles in pieces by Choreographers ranging from Cranko and Balanchine to Robbins and Kylián, from Neumeier to Forsythe and McGregor.

Friedemann Vogel was invited to dance as a guest artist by the most prestigious companies like the Mariinsky Theater St. Petersburg, the Bolshoi Ballet Theatre Moscow, Teatro alla Scala Milano, the English National Ballet, the National Ballet of China, the Tokyo Ballet, the Hong Kong Ballet, Ballets de Santiago de Chile, the Finnish National Ballet, Staatsballett Berlin and the Bayerisches Staatsballett, Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, Royal Swedish Ballet, the Vienna State Ballet, the Korean National Ballet and the Béjart Ballet Lausanne.

Since September 2014 Friedemann Vogel has been a Guest Principal with the Mikhailovsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg. In September 2015 he was awarded the national title of "Kammertänzer" (the highest honour that can be bestowed on a dancer in Germany), and in July 2016, he received the prestigious Prix Maya for “Outstanding Dancer” by Ballet2000.

Daisy Phillips

Daisy was born in Oakland, California, and studied ballet and contemporary dance in Berkeley, San Francisco, London, and Geneva. 

She began her career in 2005 with the Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève, before returning to San Francisco to work with Alex Ketley and Erika Tsimbrovsky, among others.

In 2007, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui invited her to Belgium for the creation of the quartet Origine. Their collaboration continued with the duo Faun (2009, commissioned by Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London), the opera Das Rheingold (2010, La Scala di Milano/Staatsoper Berlin), and a program of duos entitled 4D (2012, Théâtre National, Brussels).

In 2011-12 she joined Alain Platel / les ballets c de la b for the creation of C(h)oeurs, commissioned by Gerard Mortier for the Teatro Real de Madrid. Also in 2011-12 she helped to found the theater/dance collective IfHuman, currently associate artists at Les Halles de Schaerbeek, Brussels. In 2013 they premiered Fear and Desire, directed by Gaia Saitta, at the Auditorium in Rome. This was followed by Saitta’s Ne Parlez Pas d’Amour (Torino, 2014), Yes No Maybe (Brussels, 2014) and their new creation, Leaves (2016/17).

In 2013-14 she worked on creations notably in Valencia with director Cecilia Ligorio, in Zurich, Bern, and Ghent with Quan Bui Ngoc, and in Antwerp with Iris Bouche and Kobe Proesmans.

In 2014 she also began working with Constanza Macras / Dorky Park company in Berlin, performing in the productions Berlin Elsewhere and Open for Everything, then traveling to China to participate in the creation of The Ghosts (2015). In the winter/spring of 2016 she was a member of the GöteborgsOperan Danskompani in Sweden. More recently she created the choreography for (and featured in) the opera Baccanali by Agostino Steffani, directed by Cecilia Ligorio at the Festival della Valle d’Itria in Italy.

James O'Hara

Originally from Fremantle Western Australia, James works internationally as a dance performer, teacher, choreographic assistant and choreographer.

James was a member of Ballet Junior de Genève, a recipient of a Princess Grace Foundation Bursary in 2004 and has since worked with Ballet Preljocaj (France), Matthew Lutton and Chrissie Parrott (Malthouse Theatre Melbourne), Ross McCormack (Muscle Mouth, Wellington), Michael Keegan Dolan and extensively as both performer and assistant with Marina Mascarell (Korzo Den Haag), Damien Jalet and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui (Eastman, Belgium).

He has performed as a guest with Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet/Ohad Naharin, The Australian Ballet/Gideon Obarzanek, The Paris Opera Ballet, The Norwegian National Ballet and The Bolshoi Theatre Moscow.

James is a frequent guest teacher in Montreal (Transformation and Danse a la Carte), New Zealand School of Dance and West Australian Academy of Performing Arts, where he recently created The Roaring Silence… alongside Balázs Busa.

James worked extensively with Steps Youth Dance Company in Perth and is currently with the National Youth Dance Company of Sadlers Wells.

James has been nominated for a Helpmann, Green Room and Australian Dance Award.

The essential

Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 October 2016
8.30 p.m.


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