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Choreographer explores ‘umbrella of marriage and vows’ in London Coliseum’s ‘Solo for Two’

Ivan Vasiliev, Arthur Pita and Natalia Osipova Ivan Vasiliev, Arthur Pita and Natalia Osipova

Thursday, July 31, 2014
6:02 AM

It is the tale of an unforgiving bride, seeking revenge on the groom who has jilted her. Facada – a contemporary dance piece choreographed by Islington-based Arthur Pita and performed by ballet dancers, Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev – is part of the Solo Two presentation at the London Coliseum.

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“The word ‘facada’ is a Portuguese word which means stab,” says Pita, who was born in South Africa to a Portuguese family. “So often when someone has been hurt, or someone gives them bad news they’ll say, ‘oh, that was a facada’, like an emotional or physical stab.”

The piece is adapted from an earlier work by Pita called God’s Garden in which the prodigal son meets the bride’s revenge in his re-imagined story.

“Everything that comes under the umbrella of marriage and vows and love is such a massive theatrical event in itself,” says the choreographer, who lives in Angel with his partner, choreographer Matthew Bourne.

Portuguese

“All the women in my family, my cousins, and my sisters have all had that. We come from a very Portuguese Catholic family, it’s all about you go and get married, have the children and live a good Catholic life. But I would say almost all of them, 90 per cent of them, have ended up in a divorce or separation.

“I think maybe because there was too much pressure in the beginning, and the Portuguese way is you made your bed, you sleep in it, but I’m proud of them as women as they’ve all gone, ‘I’m not happy, I’m going to be independent on my own, why should I live with this man who’s going to constantly have affairs or mistreat me?’

“This story is more folkloric, gothic,” he adds. “But it’s come from this big promise of a wedding and we’ll be happy forever. It does happen but we all know relationships take work.”

Russian Osipova, a principle dancer with the Royal Ballet, and Vasiliev, principle with the American Ballet Theatre, interpret Pita’s Facada as one of three diverse pieces, commissioned by the Segerstrom Center for the Arts and Ardani Artists, for Solo For Two.

Pita started with freelance dancing as a child and arrived in the UK in the 1990s as a professional dancer.

He moved into choreography and his range is vast: opera, musicals, fairytales and plays.

He said: “I’ve only had a few rehearsals with Natalia and Ivan. It has been beautiful being in a room with them. They are fantastic people; they are very passionate, they are absolutely at the top of their game and very curious about exploring something new. They work very hard but they are just pouring with passion and striving for excellence. It’s a total joy to watch them move.”

Solo for Two is from Wednesday to Saturday, August 6-9, tickets are £15-£79. See eno.org.

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