Sylvie Guillem – A Life in Progress
On Saturday September 14th, I was lucky enough to be able to see one of Sylvie Guillem’s final performances ever!! I went with a few of my friends from Ellison Ballet. This show was her last performance in the U.S. I am a huge fan of her as a dancer and also as a human being. Sylvie is also a big supporter of Sea Shepherd, a non-profit that defends the oceans, and she is also vegan!!! Yay!! I have recently gone vegan but have been a vegetarian my whole life. She is an inspiring role model. Sylvie is now 50 years old and her career was about 35 years. I feel honored to have been able to watch her farewell.
Laurent Hilaire and Sylvie Guillem rehearsing at the Royal Ballet School in 1992. (Michael Ward/Getty Images)
My friend, Ashlyn, went to go see her perform on Thursday and I asked her how it was and she had a loss for words. When I saw Sylvie perform her first piece, I felt the same. The choreography of the first piece was so different and unique but it suited Sylvie very well and she performed it with perfection. I could really feel her emotion of the piece too. I mean it is so hard to explain any of these pieces because it was just so incredible. You would really have to witness it live.
The next piece was a duo choreographed by William Forsythe with two male dancers, also contemporary. It was quite interesting because it started out with no music; just the two men dancing with each other. They connected their movements together nicely and it was almost like one did a movement and then the other would sort of react to it or continue it. To me it seemed like that some parts were as if one was a shadow of the other. Sylvie came on in this piece near the end for about 30 seconds or so. Ashlyn said she didn’t do this on Thursday night.
Brigel Gjoka and Riley Watts in Duo2015. Photo: Bill Cooper
Sylvie then did a duo (Here and After) with Emanuela Montanari (La Scala). It was choreographed by Russel Maliphant. They danced so in sync and I really liked the choreography and music. I couldn’t see this from my seat, but if you sat a little higher you could see the lights on the floor. The lights would go with the music or where Sylvie and moved across the stage.
During intermission we all met up and we were all in shock that we were actually seeing Sylvie perform live!!!
After this piece was performed, Sylvie came out to bow and she got a standing ovation from the sold out theater!!! It probably lasted for about 10-15 minutes! People handed her flowers from the front row. I wish I was sitting there!
I then met my friends outside the theater and we headed to the stage door. There was already a decent amount of people waiting. Some of my friends were closer to the door, but Gillian, Claire and I stayed back a bit but were in the center facing the door where we thought she would exit. We had to wait for about 45 minutes, but it was definitely worth it!
There was a security guard there and they had this pretty organized. Sylvie stayed inside this area in the doorway. People were allowed through the doorway in groups and she took several group pictures. If you wanted something signed you would just hand it to her and she would go through the pile signing everything. She already had a sharpie. I had her sign my pointe shoe.
I am so grateful to have been able to see this idol perform and I am still in shock that I got to meet her. Sylvie is a beautiful person and dancer.