David Dawson

The Disappeared

World première: 12 November 2006
Dresden Semperoper Ballett, Saxon State Opera
Semperoper, Dresden, Germany

Choreography, Concept and Staging David Dawson
Music Arvo Pärt
Set Design John Otto
Costume Design Yumiko Takeshima
Light Design Bert Dalhuysen
Assistants to the Choreographer
Laura GrahamRebecca Gladstone

THE DISAPPEARED- a portrait of silence. This ballet is a magnified view of inspirations constructed as symphony of white light, investigating the structure of air. A world with infinite shades of clean brightness that illuminates the power of unfathomable inhumanity, yet also the power of beauty. To disappear inside this emotional statement, into the smoky clouds and gaseous vapours.

‘For me beauty can be experienced in most varied way. As unattainable perfection, for which we must strive. As sincerity. It can exist for us as relief of too much reality. And we need it. It is hope.’
— David Dawson

There are things that people value that are all around us. Without these, we would have no world. Whenever any of this disappears, we feel that there is a hole. The disappeared is gone forever, it cannot be brought back. However, space is created for new things that can fill this hole. Life is a coming and going, and everything is subject to its never-ending cycle. In the end, man is what he is, that which he was.

The most common question is what it takes for us to persist from one time to another. What is necessary, and what is sufficient, for some past or future being to be you? What am I? When did I begin? What will happen to me when I die? Who am I?

THE DISAPPEARED was created to Silentium from Tabula Rasa by Arvo Pärt. Its most singular characteristic – is that the music exists in a spiral of repetition, arching upward and onward on a journey without destination, can seem to lose contact with the corporeal world and drift away into transparent bodilessness, a fathomless-call, it is timeless, if you will beauty to these scores the deeper you plunge into their hypnotic sound world its austerity, its distance, as through a glass part prayer, a part meditation and a part love letter, burning with passion and suffering. It is at the same time filled with yearning and longing for a higher state of being remind of the music of times past and forgotten, but this is modern music indeed.

Ensemble - The Disappeared - Semperoper Ballett - photo © Angela SterlingDuosi Zhu - A Sweet Spell of Oblivion - Semperoper Ballett - photo © Costin Radu