Joseph Sturdy about Sonatra: I was interested to look at the classical technique, to awaken it and enjoy it
When Joseph Sturdy was asked to choreograph a work for the Royal Swedish Ballet, he accepted the challenge with alacrity.
‘I admired how Artistic Director Nicolas Le Riche was trying to keep his dancers dancing. After all, that's what we do – we're dancers. Dance was in crisis, we were in difficult times and I felt I could deliver what he was asking for.'
Sonatra is Sturdy's first work for the Royal Swedish Ballet although he had taught the company over the years. ‘Coming back to the house was really pleasurable. I think also when you make work for a company you have to have some affinity with the dancers.'
‘Nicolas wanted a neo-classical piece, and I was interested to look at the classical technique, to awaken it and enjoy it. I really wanted to use the dancers' talents, then put them in costumes where it's about the physicality of the dancers and the athletic nature of what they do. They're incredible workers and the energy!'
‘I loved the perpetual motion in Michael Gordon's music and what he writes, “aiming for something between Sinatra and sonata”. It's also music that invited another voice, invites choreography and drives the dancers.'
‘There is a classicism in it even though it's got a minimalistic feel to it. It's a rather naked ballet; there is nothing there apart from the dancers' technical aptitude and physicality with the music cascading the length of the keyboard.'
‘What can dance do in a pandemic? I can only make an uplifting piece about the human spirit and the tenacity. That is the feeling I wanted the piece to deliver.'
‘It's incredible what we've been through. But dance is alive and kicking. Let's get these guys dancing and flying around. We've missed being on stage. I think Maurice would agree!'