Solo, was created for Sylvie Guillem in 2005. It introduces the dancer bathed in a hypnotic pool of Michael Hulls‘s lighting. What follows is eight minutes of choreography designed to showcase the femininity and beauty of her classical technique. Performing to the Spanish guitar music of Carlos Montoya, Guillem winds herself around the language, brimming with undulating arms, beautiful, barefoot ballet feet and a breathtaking sense of line. There are Spanish accents in the dance which grant her the proud stance of the great flamenco artist, and sudden bursts of incredible flexibility which remind the audience of Guillem‘s incomparable technique.
Solo is performed to the music of Carlos Montoya, by kind permission of the Carlos Montoya Trust. The solo‘s Farruca and Seguiriya are taken from the recording The Art of Montoya.
At first glance, this 1996 creation would seem to be a solo. There is only one person on stage, the
choreographer himself, yet it quickly becomes obvious that he is not dancing alone. For Shift is a virtual duet between Russell Maliphant the dancer and the ingenious lighting of his long-time collaborator, Michael Hulls. The interplay turns an intimate dance for one into a beguiling dialogue about perception and the nature of reality. The sinewy, yoga-inspired choreography constantly shifts, but within its elastic design lies a strong centre. Maliphant‘s feline grace and rigorous attention to detail are showcased, but so too is his unique ability to create a spellbinding world of reflection, helped by Shirley Thompson‘s melancholic string serenade.
Two, a solo originally created for Dana Fouras in 1997, is one of Maliphant‘s most dazzling and original creations. In 2003 he reimagined it as a trio for three women (calling it Two Times Three) but as a solo it has been given new life by Sylvie Guillem. She begins Two trapped inside a tiny box of light. Repeating the same phrases with increasing intensity, she compels us with the mesmerising allure of her arms, shoulders and head. When the beat in Andy Cowton's sound score kicks in, the dance spins with increased excitement, finally erupting like a whirling dervish, hands and feet moving in a blur of light and movement.
Michael Hulls's extraordinary lighting turns Guillem's hands and feet into licks of fire, while Maliphant's
choreography engulfs her in its whirligig. The ballerina's body seems to evaporate into the vortex.
This glamorous duet for Sylvie Guillem and Russell Maliphant caused a sensation when it was premiered at Sadler‘s Wells in 2005. It came about at Guillem‘s instigation, following the success of her collaboration with Maliphant on Broken Fall, a trio he created for her, William Trevitt and Michael Nunn at the Royal Opera House. Push brings into play all the qualities Maliphant‘s work is famous for – its hypnotic beauty, its serene strength – while giving Guillem one of the most extraordinary performing opportunities of her career.
In Push, the choreography rolls and cascades, the two dancers are captured by the intimacy of their richly physical language. There is something haunting about their slow, sensuous connection, almost as if Maliphant‘s choreography has been sculpted in zero gravity. The contrast between his weighted
earthbound movement and Guillem‘s soaring ballerina lift gives added resonance to the lush, liquid
Maliphant‘s partners in the creation of Push are vital to the work's overall success. Andy Cowton‘s score provides the choreography with an almost palpable caress, while Michael Hulls‘s lighting casts the two dancers in a stunning golden glow.