We saw a ballet evening titled Bill at the Stockholm Royal Opera.

The first piece, Artifact Suite by William Forsythe, consisted of two parts. The first part, with violin music by Bach, has a focus on solo performances with the rest of the dancers more in the background. Nice but not particularly exciting.

The second part of this piece, with piano music described as “baroque fantasies”, is more of an ensemble performance. The dancers move in geometrical patterns. They follow, imitate and echo each other. Both the music and the dancers’ movements have a very rhythmic quality. It reminded me of Gurdjieff Movements, both in the geometrical, pattern-based movements of the group as a whole, and the minimalist, somewhat angular movements of the dancers, with an emphasis on arms. Mesmerizing – not just figuratively but also literally. I got so entranced by the movement and the music that I found myself drifting off into a dream several times, without even feeling sleepy.

The second piece, The Other You, I found less interesting. A man and his shadow/mirror image/doppelgänger, struggling. Too little dance, too much “concept” and mime show.

The third piece was more interesting again. Bill (which was also the name of the ballet evening as a whole) was set to rave music, performed by dancers in skin-tight colourless bodysuits, on a smoke-filled blue scene. The choreography felt organic, forceful and wild, but also rather chaotic.

There was one dancer who really excelled during this performance. Jérôme Marchand was easy to pick out from the ensemble not only because he was taller than the others and had a shaved head. He also moved as if the piece had been written with him in mind: fluidly, softly, almost seeming non-human at times. He made me think of Dr. Manhattan from the Watchmen comics.

The opera house have a short video clip, but no good photos unfortunately, so the photos here are from Pennsylvania Ballet’s performance of Artifact Suite.