Tremble, Ballet by Petr Zuska
Living in the 21st century is wrought with contradictions and pressures, all unfolding at a stressfully rapid pace. Czech choreographer Petr Zuska takes a snapshot of the intensity and emotionality which accompany today's breakneck-speed life in his ballet work Tremble, which plays in Prague this season. The music is courtesy of Henryk Górecki and Jiří Pavlica.
Zuska is hailed as one of the Czech Republic's eminent dance artists, and his choreographic efforts regularly garner critical acclaim for their depth, style transcendence, and humour. Tremble is no exception. With an eclectic musical background, as varied as life itself, and expressive movements reminiscent of physical poetry, the ballet performance is enthralling and transporting.
The inspiration for Tremble comes from several sources, but Petr Zuska identifies Vladimír Holan's poem 'The Last Leaf' as the primary mover behind this work of his. The metaphor of a tree's last leaf trembling with each gust of wind in the middle of a field is the starting point for Holan's exploration of modern man's isolated and quickened life in the big city, a familiar subject.
Zuska takes this metaphor as his starting point and creates landscapes of human movement, carefully choreographed against austere but richly symbolic sets and lighting designs, which altogether paint a vivid picture of the 'here and now'. Every motion signifies change; change is beginning as well as an end; above all else, change is life.
Tremble features large excerpts from Symphony No. 3, or 'The Symphony of Sorrowful Songs', by 20th-century Polish avant-garde composer Henryk Górecki. The stories of lost children and parents' lamentation therein map onto the isolation and disconnect that characterise modern life. Górecki incorporates Silesian and Catholic themes, which are typical of Central Europe.
Jiří Pavlica, with his band Hradišťan, contributes more local musical themes and adds a life-affirming Bohemian folk element to the performance. Together, the musical forces behind Tremble will take you on a journey through the Slavic musical soul and bring you into a whole new world of rhythm, melody, and movement.
With strong Czech and Polish influences and a topic that transcends geography, Petr Zuska's dance performance Tremble is a masterpiece of modern ballet that will touch your heart and your mind with equal force and inspiration.