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Nijinsky revisited

Theresa Steininger

Slow Asian movements with flexed hands, angled legs and dynamic jumps: Not so uncommon for a Thai dancer. But when Pichet Klunchun in his piece „Nijinsky Siam“ perform these, he does not do so in the first place to show his own country´s styles, but to reconstruct the look the famous Ballet-russes-dancer Vaslav Nijinsky had on them 100 years ago. The audience learns that after having heard of a Siamese dance company having performed in Europe, Nijinsky created his famous „Danse Siamoise“, of which nowadays photos are the only thing to remain. With these, which are also projected on stage, Klunchun has not done a pure reconstruction, although it also is historically interesting, but, as he tells his audience via writings on the back wall of the stage, wants to give back a soul to Nijinsky´s famous solo. Inspired by what is to be seen on the photos, he does his own solo in the end of the performance. But he does even more than that. By projecting photos of Nijinsky fading into one another, he makes the Russian dancer kind of dance as well. And he has two other Thai dancers with him, Sunon Wachirawarakarn and Padung Jumpan, who support him to bring to stage what he thinks Nijinsky had been inspired by 100 years ago. So „Nijinsky Siam“ does not try to reconstruct a historical piece, but brings it on one hand back to its origins by having filtered the Siamese dances twice – once by Nijinsky, once now -, and on the other hand creating something new with all respect to the Ballet-russes-creator.

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