Metamorphosis

David Dawson
Dutch National Ballet
Dutch National Ballet, Amsterdam
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James Stout and Anna Ol Credit: Hans Gerritsen
Riho Sakamoto Credit: Hans Gerritsen
Edo Wijnen Credit: Hans Gerritsen

Metamorphosis, choreographed by David Dawson to Philip Glass’s minimalist piano music, was created for Dutch National Ballet entirely on Zoom and premièred in April this year. It is very watchable. I watched it twice. I only wished I was watching it in a theatre and seeing the full stage picture rather than in my home watching it on a screen and the dancers’ movement being interrupted by close-ups.

Metamorphosis is described by Dawson as “a vehicle for hope and humanity and finding light in darkness.” It’s about going on, not giving up. There are five movements. I particularly enjoyed the second with ten dancers and the third with two couples.

Glass’s music was inspired by Kafka’s novel; but there is nothing Kafkaesque about this abstract ballet. The stage is black. The space is very large. The dancers are in white leotards; together yet apart, they often run and encircle each other before disappearing into the darkness.

The neoclassical movement, sharply lit, is lyrical, elegant, beautiful, tender, joyful, fluid. The five transfigurations, ending in a solo, make for a very appealing 37 minutes. You, too, like me, will want to watch David Dawson’s Metamorphosis more than once; and it can be watched for free on YouTube.

Reviewer: Robert Tanitch