Premiere at the Milwaukee Ballet (USA). March 31, 2022.
Choreographer: Aleix Mañé
Lighting designer: Dan Ozminkowski..
Costume designer: Anthony Pina.
Pictures: Rachel Malehorn.
Working with the choreographer Aleix Mañé was a real pleasure. Aleix Mañè Sáez won Milwaukee Ballet’s international choreographic competition, “Genesis,” in 2019. The award included a commission to create a second work for these dancers in 2020. The COVID lockdown came during final rehearsals and Mañè Sáez and the dancers have waited more than two years to bring their work to an audience.
It is inspired by the bravery of a friend diagnosed with a terminal illness. His work is dramatic and deeply felt. He asks, as he said, everything from the dancers, and in this case, especially from his leading lady, created for Lizzie Tripp, who did the role justice. Even standing up, she was mesmerizing.
The title comes from the musical composition Sixth Breath, The Last Breath by the prolific Italian composer Ezio Bosso, who died in 2020 at the age of 48 from a multi-year degenerative disease. Among many other things, he composed music for ballets.
The dance begins with Tripp sitting on the floor in a dim spotlight, her back to us, flesh visible, touching her hair with minimal movement, listening at length to a recording of a woman singing a powerful Spanish lament. She then starts the Bosso music. A troupe of shadowy dancers appears from the darkness around him. They are the life you know you will lose. With intense participation, he witnesses a couple, Annia Hidalgo and Davit Hovhannisyan on opening night, dance their love in an amazing couple, with elevator chains that I have never seen. Tripp, overcome with grief, does a quiet, haunted solo. Then others come to help her regain a new vitality. She leads into a moment of blinding white light and some sort of ecstatic dance that I found entirely compelling.