Karen Kilimnik, Sleeping Beauty + friends, 2007. Video, theater curtain, three chairs, dimensions variable. Courtesy of 303 Gallery
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Screening of Karen Kilimnik's Sleeping Beauty + friends
Co-choreographed with Tom Sapsford for a 2007 London performance, Sleeping Beauty + friends is the realization of artist Karen Kilimnik’s decades-long dream to choreograph a ballet. Her work combines altered excerpts from four 19th-century story ballets. The fifty-minute performance begins with the opening scene of the earliest ballet of the group, Bournonville’s La Sylphide (1836), whose principal’s more natural movements and soft, ankle-length tutu characterize romantic-era ballets. Wending its way through time and costume changes, the mélange ends with the grand finale of Petipa’s Don Quixote (1869). Sleeping Beauty is cheekily absent from the offerings, yet the virtuosic variations Kilimnik chose nod towards its famously difficult choreography. The videotape that the artist shot of the performance is delightfully idiosyncratic and amateurish. It counterpoints ballet’s perfectionism, while at the same time penetrating the core of its intense beauty and emotionalism.
This screening is presented in conjunction with Rudolf Nureyev: A Life in Dance at the de Young and Dance Rehearsal: Karen Kilimnik's World of Ballet and Theater, on view through December 12 at the Mills College Art Museum. www.mcam.mills.edu