Interview with Boris Eifman
1. Please describe the piece you are creating for Tour de Force--what music will be used, what was the inspiration behind it? How do you approach creating a piece for a show like this, as opposed to a full-length production?
For Tour de Force, I'm creating a mini-ballet for Nikolai Tsiskaridze, a star of the Bolshoi Theater, to Samuel Barber's Adagio. The working title of the ballet is I Am, and you can read the answer to your next question in the title. When I create a ballet in a large form, it becomes a meditation on the philosophy of life, on questions of the universe, on social issues. And as a result, such a work becomes a kind of choreographer's credo, a reflection of his worldview. With mini-ballets, another factor is at work: here it is not the choreographer but the artist's personality that becomes the original source and impulse of the choreographic work, which is born through close collaboration of choreographer and dancer. The dramaturgy, form, and style of the mini-ballet are all oriented on the performer's individuality. You could say that in my ballet for Tour de Force, I will try to unleash and realize the creative potential and the mysteries of the soul and emotions of this brilliant artist that have not been observed by other choreographers. I would like to show the world-famous dancer in a new way, unknown to audiences. I won't hide the fact that the ballet will be created for Tsiskaridze and about Tsiskaridze.
2. In a 2007 interview with the New York Times, you said you identified with Trigorin from 'The Seagull" because he was still a seeker, looking for innovative forms of expression. How does that translate to the work you are doing now, in terms of choreography?
I'm pleased that your magazine has noted my constant seeking for new forms and20new capabilities for ballet theater. For me the art of ballet has always been and is an instrument for expressing the inner, spiritual life, a way of expressing ideals, philosophy, hopes and disillusionments, the constant thirst for life and the fear of death. All the emotions, the numerous problems that plague mankind can be expressed through the language of choreography.
In the ballet I Am, I'm trying to find the choreographic form that corresponds to the individual psychophysique of Nikolai Tsiskaridze. The choreographic language here must not just be innovative, it must be organic for the performer and his inner world.
There is a special aspect to working on mini-ballets—on the one hand I am dependent on the artist's individuality, but on the other, it's that very individuality that spurs me to seek the new.