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Swansong

By Christopher Bruce

Year: 1989, 34 mins
Code: AH-Swansong

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Christopher Bruce’s reputation as one of Britain’s outstanding dancer/choreographers is based partly on his mix of classical and modern idioms and partly on his commitment to social conscious themes.

Swansong is one of Bruce’s most prominent works. Acclaimed as a modern classic the ballet shows a prisoner being interrogated by two guards using a startling combination of contemporary dance, tap and music hall routines. The piece is dramatic and sinister but ultimately uplifting.

This is the original 1987 performance with Koen Onzia, Kevin Richmond and Matz Skoog.

Hailed by London's The Daily Telegraph as "the Nureyev of contemporary ballet", Christopher Bruce assumed the artistic directorship of The Rambert Dance Company in 1994, Britain's most prestigious contemporary dance troupe. At the time of his appointment, The London Times hailed him as an artist who "could change the face of British dance."

Christopher Bruce's position as one of Britain's leading choreographers, working with both classical and contemporary companies world wide, was acknowledged in March 1993 when he received the International Theatre Institute Award for excellence in international dance. This followed a host of other awards throughout a rich career, including the first Evening Standard Award for Dance in 1974 due to his contribution to British dance, both as a performer and as a choreographer. In 1996, he received the Evening Standard Award for Outstanding Artistic Achievement in Ballet. In June 1998, he was named a Commander of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II as part of the Queen's Birthday Honors.

As a choreographer, Christopher Bruce was undoubtedly stimulated by the variety and experimentation of Ballet Rambert in the 1960s, creating over twenty works for the company. Between 1975 and 1987, he was first associate director and then, as he was increasingly in demand internationally as a choreographer, associate choreographer for Rambert.

During his career, he has choreographed for a wide range of productions including musicals, plays for the Royal National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company, operas, television, and video. Although his productions have been mounted throughout the world, Mr. Bruce has developed special relationships with a number of companies, including Houston Ballet, Netherlands Dance Theater, Royal Danish Ballet, Cullberg Ballet, English National Ballet, Gulbenkian Ballet, and Le Ballet du Grand Theatre de Gen. Among his best known works are Cruel Garden, Ghost Dances, Sergeant Early's Dream, Intimate Pages, The Dream is Over,Swansong, and Rooster, all of which have been televised.

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