The Dante Project

Edward Watson

I watched the stream of this ballet and I was very impressed. I don’t know a lot about the technical aspects of dance but I was utterly enthralled by the motion of these dancers along with the music of Thomas Ades. The production of the stream was impressive and while I do love going to the theatre, seeing this on my own couch with a blanket and slippers has a lot of appeal.

The art by Tacita Dean was really intriguing! Her inverted mountainous landscape was fantastic as the backdrop of the inferno and the dancers wore chalky grey and black that, as the dancers would embrace, let out these ghostly clouds. It was really awesome. There were hints not only of Botticelli in her visualization but to her earlier chalk work. The use of Dean’s street photograph from what looks like Los Angeles dominated by a massive tree. Like her chalk drawings, Dean has visualized trees in her work, including photographing Majesty, one of the largest oak trees in England.

The street visualization is rendered as a photographic negative, dominated by a Jacaranda tree (I had to look it up). The tree evidently blooms purple in the summer. This as a negative would show up as a surreal green. This is the backdrop to this Act where Dante sees his own and Beatrice’s history unfold. And while her art was static for each of the first two Acts, the third is a film of ever shifting celestial orbs. The production was really breathtaking!

For more about the production itself: