For those of you not familiar with dance and ballet, Sylvie Guillem is extraordinary. She has had a long career for more than 30 years and has taken the brave decision to retire at the age of 50. Her career has been scrutinised within the world of dance and nobody expected her career to last… she had shape, she wasn’t conventional, she used her body in a way that other dancers didn’t, she interpreted the music and created dance, she was probably a nightmare for those trying to recreate a piece… and reviewers and other dancers and choreographers didn’t hold back in criticizing her. But probably in spite of the comments, she’s bought dance to a different place. Introduced a new dimension and allowed others to travel that road with her. She challenged and because of this dance has changed, challenged and stereotypes shattered.
I think the strength of love and respect for Sylvie Guillem was clearly demonstrated in that extra dates have had to be added to her final tour because the tickets sell out instantly. I missed out on seeing her at Sadlers Wells and as soon as I heard about the extra performance at the Colliseum in London, I messaged an ex-colleague to tell him and ask if he’d like to join me… if I can get tickets. His instant reply “I’m on holiday then. B***. But I’ve just come back from Sadlers Wells. Amazing! But we’re so sad. I LOVE her. But – wow – she is awesome. Take a hanky”
A few pictures borrowed from the internet of the performance and which I hope capture the emotion of the stories being delivered through dance.Her final piece was truly emotional. It was danced, as she always dances, from the heart. But the quiet dance resonated around the auditorium as the piece ended with her walking through a doorway and looking back at us, one last time. There were people visibly moved by the performance and I, for one, had a lump in my throat and perhaps something in my eye.
I have no doubt at all that Sylvie will be missed within the world of dance. However I am absolutely sure that her resolute strength and determination will have opened doors for dancers in years to come.