David Dawson


World première: 13 February 2010
Norwegian National Ballet
The Opera House, Oslo, Norway

Choreography, Concept and Staging David Dawson
Music Pēteris Vasks
Set Design John Otto
Costume Design Yumiko Takeshima
Light Design Bert Dalhuysen
Assistant to the Choreographer Jahn Magnus Johansen

DANCINGMADLYBACKWARDS was created for the Norwegian National Ballet.

David drew his inspiration for the ballet directly from the ideas and meanings behind the music, Viatore, by Pēteris Vasks, the opera house itself and his feelings about the beauty of the North.

Dawson created a world for the wandering soul. Full of distant memories, immediate situations and the larger picture of time with fragments and views of time passed and passing. Mirroring the patterns and concepts of the music by working with a numerical system or code and the basic principle of theme and variation, and by giving a unique movement language and therefore a specific physical identity to the piece.

‘hop hop pushing under the floor connecting the lines that exist outside the body swooping into spirals and jumping backwards outside of the circle silver blooded animal built and trained for the art pulling back from the knee leading by opening finding the long arch curling up and up to the very end of possibilities everything stretched stretched in opposite directions one towards the past the other leading to the future showing the way like a guiding light collecting and extending extension outwards speaking without words breath breathing held elbow hinged anatomy constructed for shape creating and demonstrated invisibly turned to water and fire air ice the extra turn unavoidable entered in total balance breath held astonished at that forever moment lightly skimming over the wooden surface beneath almost coming off the ground without trying the facility natural instinctive untouched not ruined yet straight lines everywhere around me horizon after horizon totally unaware enough of unknown deliberate action required the choosing the choice articulated strength of mind over body enhancing the perfection stretching young muscle and jumping as high as possible caught in the air wobble and land but not even accepting the truth behind it all hot then hand to face hands to face bumpy red facial skin hot and itchy and smiling standards attained and proven accepted and welcome for the next round with the dust in the cracks in the air in and exhaling the history smothered with imagination in constant flux with the world passing by through a window as if to prove that we exist in a form that gives evidence of our identity all hours all days all nights looking for some kind of confirmation of credit and wealth of mind being subhuman and slithering through life making the same mistakes over and over again until we are certain we are uncertain of the complete picture as we gather form and fail bend collect and fail again stop and wait for the beautiful one to pass by then look again circles and squares collect again and fade out making the ebb and flow of the score look as if its not there looking right and left capture and toss through the gaps looking again but for a way out and repeat but its already gone and off it goes so we dance dance dance hands gripping tight on to each other before we can fall softly to the ground then back comes the beauty leading the shadows and willing followers who try to bring themselves accepted in their own special way up and down diagonal and meet in the light but then break and wait for an angel to try and fly speaking through the bodies own language and leave before we can see clearly what the beauty can do but it flows and the fire is there beside on both sides making it come alive in the mind and the world relaxes before the ears split as the strings break and we don’t know what to do until the full and bloody heart starts to beat again and lets us fall into another place a place where two people can test the limits of grace and power and get better get stronger and then it will collapse and die thinking thinking about where we have been and where we could go in the future as if there is hope in a new beginning because beauty is back and we can all rest in the fact that it will save us save us and reunite us in magic reunite us as a picture of celebration of identity and for that we must only say thank you as we want the truth at all times to be visible in this case it is the invisible and then it is here and then it is gone and we still cannot find the space to relish in the joy that it gives us in secret so we try again and again.’
— David Dawson

Ensemble - The Third Light - Royal Ballet of Flanders - photo © Johan Persson