Björk at the San Francisco Ballet

The Art of Dance has no limits. Male bonding, life, sex, death and finally a ballet rave to Icelanding music superstar Björk is what San Francisco Ballet presented in Program 6 of the company’s current season.

Photo courtesy San Francisco Ballet

Photo courtesy San Francisco Ballet

While Justin Peck’s “Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes,” named for the suite by composer Aaron Copland was a fresh take, it was a Liam Scarlett’s world premiere of “Die Toteninsel,” set to Rachmaninoff’s “Isle of the Dead,” that left the audience with somewhat haunting feeling.

Die Toteninsel

This new ballet drew inspiration from Rachmaninoff’s hypnotic poem The Isle of the Dead. Liam Scarlett explores the deep-rooted question about what lies beyond this life. Scenic and lighting design made a memorable debut by David Finn. Large lighting orb with flashing lights represented sad story of life coming to an end. Dancers in an ensemble moved onto the stage and into the light representing the life’s end or were they spirits of the dead?

Die Toteninsel

Lots of powerful lifts and combinations of moves by Vitor Luiz, Dores Andre and Wei Wang’s trio kept the audience in full attention. And of course Sergei Rachmaninoff repetitiveness in music helped to create the movement that grew and build, then unexpectedly echoed itself. “ I am always first drawn to the music” says Scarlett who has deep appreciation for Rachmaninoff’s works.

Bj�rk Ballet
Photo courtesy San Francisco Ballet

Photo courtesy San Francisco Ballet

Combination of choreographer Arthur Pita and music superstar Björk was the highlight of program 6. Pita never forget the moment he first heard Björk’s music. A lone fisherman with happy and sad mask represented the simple human being in “Björk Ballet” with snippets of love stories around him. Why duality is because Pita sees that in Björk.

“ She’s very playful, naughty fairy, dancing nymph full of light and love”, he says. “And then you’ve got this very deep, mournful, sorrowful, almost tragedy in some of her songs. So it’s like the masks”. Every move and emotion, everyone in this ballet is Björk. It’s about birth, life, sex, and death.

Buy tickets for Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes, Die Toteninsel, Björk Balle April 3–9

by Giulia Juliet Belkin
Giulia Juliet Belkin is the founder of Joliegazette, Mama, Techie, Dreamer, Believer, Achiever.