Joint artistic statement from Shem and Alison
In this collaborative work we aspire to reveal some of the inner stories we hear in the Preludes of Shostakovich and Auerbach. The dancers embody people very much like ourselves, struggling to break free of oppression and fear, opening to love and hope, whose spirit transcends the tyranny that seeks to control their lives.
The ballet is performed to a recording of the music prepared by Shem Guibbory, Violin, and Susan Sobolewski, Piano. Lighting by Tony Marques. Special thanks to Filmmaker and Playwright Anne Catherine de Mare, for her help in crafting the story. Generously commissioned by Charles and Deborah Adelman.
Carolina Rivera – Mother
Timothy Ward – Poet
Niccolò Orsolani – Young Boy
Sasha Rydlizky – Lover
Richard Sayama – Officer
Fiona Oba, Vera Paganin – Understudies and Assistants
Synopsis of the story
‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty,’ – that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know. John Keats
A small town official (Richard) watches over a local dance, where a young poet (Tim) and his bride (Sasha) celebrate, along with a widow (Carolina) and her teenage son (Nico). When Richard joins in to dance with Carolina, Nico objects, causing a disturbance. Tension builds and Richard moves to lash out at the boy, but Tim intervenes, challenging his authority. The party is shaken.
Back home, Carolina lectures her son to be more careful, terrified at what might have unfolded if Tim hadn’t stepped in. Only when an angry Richard strides right into their home does Nico finally understand what is at stake. Richard leaves them with a warning, and mother and son together are thankful for their narrow escape.
While Sasha dances in joy awaiting her lover’s return, Richard confronts Tim about his insubordination, handing him orders to report to an “education camp”. Unable to break the news to his beloved, Tim and Sasha enjoy a last moment of tenderness. Their happiness is shattered when she discovers the order, and Richard returns to drag Tim away.
Time passes. Unwilling to bend to the injustice of his fate, Tim suffers doubly at the hands of unseen guards, who break his body but never his spirit. Far away, Sasha is bringing Tim’s baby into the world while Richard’s conscience struggles with the knowledge of what he has done.
Destitute and alone, struggling to maintain her sanity, Sasha stumbles. She is ready to abandon all hope when Carolina and Nico step in, creating a new family of love for Sasha and the child.
from Dmitri Shostakovich Preludes Op.34 arranged Tziganov and Auerbach, and Lera Auerbach Preludes Op. 46