The return of Sylvie Guillem’s triple bill of contemporary work to Sadler’s Wells two years after its premiere confirms her enduring appeal and undiminished talent.
Sylvie Guillem in 6,000 Miles Away at Sadler's Wells, London Photo: Sadler's Wells
The French ballerina dazzled the dance world in the 1990s and 2000s with her precision technique and theatrical allure, both of which appear as strong and assured as they did 20 years ago. Many dancers switch to a contemporary style when their classical technique wanes, but Guillem’s tip-top performance suggests hers was as much an artistic decision as a physical one.
The programme consists of three short works by the eminent contemporary choreographers Jiri Kylian, William Forsythe and Mats Ek. Two were made for Guillem - Rearray by Forsythe and Bye by Ek, while 27’52” is an existing work from 2002 by Kylian for Nederlands Dans Theater II. The latter was performed by former NDT dancers Aurelie Cayla and Lukas Timulak. Despite their superb performances it was, inevitably perhaps, Guillem who everyone had come to see.
First came Forsythe’s classically inspired Rearray, a duet for Guillem and her long-time dance partner Massimo Murru. This is a detailed, complex piece, with intricate movements and lightning changes of direction. Any thought that Forsythe - with whom Guillem first worked back in the 1980s at the Paris Opera Ballet - is making easier moves for her is clearly not the case.
Ek’s Bye provides a final solo for Guillem, in which the Swedish choreographer displays his idiosyncratic style - waddles, ticks and gawky moves - which she infuses with both veteran elegance and a kind of newcomer amazement.