On the heels of his successful 2015 project INTENSIO , American Ballet Theatre principal Daniil Simkin is presenting a new multi-media work at the Guggenheim Museum's Works & Process series set in the museum's multistoried rotunda. "The rotunda is iconic, white and symmetrical," he says. "Having dance and projection in there is an amazing sight." The new work, created by Hubbard Street Dance Chicago resident choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo, is titled Falls the Shadow and will premiere September 4.
Simkin will be joined by ABT soloist Cassandra Trenary and Hubbard Street dancers Andrew Murdock and Ana Lopez. Dmitrij Simkin, Daniil's father, will design lighting and video projections that sweep across the walls and floor of the rotunda in response to the dancers' movements. "An infrared camera captures a 2-D image at 60 frames per second, right above the floor where the dancer is moving," Simkin says. "That picture goes to a patch in a computer and is converted into video projection in real time." The result is a projection that can look like abstract swirling colors or a distinct human shape, trailing right behind the dancer.
The costumes were created by Maria Grazia Chiuri, the artistic director of high fashion brand Dior, and are designed with the unique demands of the technology and choreography in mind. Like the piece's title, Chiuri's inspiration came from the way that shadows come to life with movement, which she sees as a canvas on which to display the Dior symbols and slogans. The tight-fitting costumes are outlined with a band reading "J'Adior Christian Dior" designed to define the body.
Simkin is sensitive to the possibility of spectacle. "The key is to create something that has integrity and isn't just a combination of effects." T.S. Eliot's poem "The Hollow Men" is a point of departure; lines of poetry will appear and disappear as the audience stands on the spiral ramp and watches from above.