Sergio Diaz of Ballet Preljocaj discusses the company's performances at EIF
The Edinburgh International Festival is hosting three pieces from the acclaimed French company
This article is from 2012.
It’s lunchtime at Ballet Preljocaj’s headquarters in Aix en Provence, and dancer Sergio Diaz is taking a well-earned break. A few moments earlier, he and the rest of the company were rehearsing And then, one thousand years of peace, an extraordinary new work by one of France’s most acclaimed choreographers, Angelin Preljocaj. From the sidelines, it looks exhausting to perform. How was it for Diaz?
‘It’s energetic,’ he smiles, ‘but it’s not his worst one.’ Diaz should know – he’s been with the company for 13 years, and knows Preljocaj’s movement style inside out. Raised in California, Diaz moved to France as a child, and after training as a dancer, there was only one company he wanted to join.
‘When I first discovered Angelin’s work, I was blown away by it,’ he recalls. ‘The way he can express so many emotions through movement, his ability to be in perfect harmony with the music, and this dark, mysterious side to his creations.’
Diaz, like all the dancers, was part of the creative process of all three pieces Ballet Preljocaj is bringing to the Edinburgh International Festival (And then, one thousand years of peace, plus double-bill Helikopter and Eldorado). Preljocaj gives his dancers a starting point – a theme, piece of text – and asks them to improvise, then embellishes it and sews it all together. ‘I like to say that he sculpts our movements,’ explains Diaz.
Inspired by St John’s Apocalypse from the Book of Revelations, And then, one thousand years of peace is rich with imagery. But it’s up to the audience to attribute meaning within the confines of Preljocaj’s main theme.
‘The root of the word apocalypse means “lifting the veil”,’ says Diaz. ‘and that can mean lifting the veil on anything – society, war, and the recreation of a better world.’
Edinburgh Playhouse, 473 2000, Fri 17–Sun 19 Aug, 7.30pm (And then, one thousand years of peace); Wed 22 Aug, 7.30pm (Helikopter and Eldorado), £10–£30.