THE GREY AREA

World première: 7 September 2002
Dutch National Ballet
Het Muziektheater, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Choreography, Concept and Staging David Dawson
Music Niels Lanz


Set Design David Dawson


Costume Design Yumiko Takeshima
Light Design Bert Dalhuysen
Choreographic Assistants Amy Raymond, Rachel Beaujean

David Dawson’s award-winning break-through The Grey Area points towards a place of no time and no place. A ‘no-man’s land’. With its wonderful free flowing phrases accompanied by Nielz Lanz’s haunting score, it transports us to another world. After winning the prestigious Prix Benois de la Danse award in 2003 this ballet is recognized as classic of our time.

This abstract, emotionally charged choreography deliberately dispenses with any stage elements. In this work David Dawson displays his talent for modern, atmospheric ballet and figuratively casts off the art form’s classical chains. Central to the work is dance with dynamic, classically inspired movements in a flowing, sweeping geometry. Beauty and timelessness liberated from gravity.

The Grey Area was a reflection of my life at the time of its conception, and a response to how I am reflected by what happens around me. It is a work about somewhere unknown. A place of high hope. An impression of a moment between endings and beginnings, or an impalpable state of being in itself. I had no permanent plans or fixed images of how the piece would finally look. I did know that I was interested in creating a space that could be emotional. Where the dancing could be a highly expressive use of classical ballet technique, but go beyond the traditional.

I worked on developing an expressive language with the dancers by exploring the individuality of each of them. The movement becoming more extended and circular in design, trying to create a kind of formless articulation, and concentrating on focus, dynamic, and message. I was working for a certain quality of movement. For the dancers to picture it mentally, to be involved in it physically, and for it to be happening to them emotionally. As if experiencing the movement for the first time as well as the last.’ (David Dawson)

  • Natalia Sologub - The Grey Area - Semperoper Ballett - photo © Costin Radu
  • Yumiko Takeshima, Sofiane Sylve, Raphaël Coumes-Marquet - The Grey Area - Dutch National Ballet - photo © Deen van Meer
  • Jiří Bubeníček, Olga Melnikova - The Grey Area - Semperoper Ballett - photo © Costin Radu
  • Jiří Bubeníček, Olga Melnikova - The Grey Area - Semperoper Ballett - photo © Costin Radu
  • Sofiane Sylve - The Grey Area - Dutch National Ballet - photo © Deen van Meer
  • Raphaël Coumes-Marquet, Natalia Sologub - The Grey Area - Semperoper Ballett - photo © Costin Radu
  • Oleg Klymyuk, Natalia Sologub - The Grey Area - Semperoper Ballett - photo © Costin Radu
  • Oleg Klymyuk, Chantelle Kerr, Fabien Voranger - The Grey Area - Semperoper Ballett - photo © Costin Radu
  • Natalia Sologub, Raphaël Coumes-Marquet - The Grey Area - Semperoper Ballett - photo © Costin Radu
  • Ensemble - The Grey Area - Semperoper Ballett - photo © Costin Radu
  • Aki Saito - The Grey Area - Royal Ballet of Flanders - photo © Johan Persson
  • Raphaël Coumes-Marquet, Yumiko Takeshima - The Grey Area - Semperoper Ballett - photo © Costin Radu
  • Eva Dewaele, Ernesto Boada - The Grey Area - Royal Ballet of Flanders - photo © Johan Persson
A Million Kisses to my Skin00:00 - Dutch National Ballet - photo © Joris-Jan Bos
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