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How a silent film from Hollywood's golden age inspired Arthur Pita's new ballet The Wind

'The David Lynch of dance' has been inspired by an eerie movie starring early Hollywood icon Lillian Gish.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

27 October 2017 at 11.22am | 3 Comments

Not for nothing is choreographer Arthur Pita nicknamed 'the David Lynch of dance’– the unsettling and oppressive atmospheres he creates in his pieces aren't a million miles away from the skin-crawl of Twin Peaks, Mulholland Drive or Inland Empire.

This Season the award-winning Portuguese choreographer returns to Covent Garden with a major new main stage ballet inspired by an eerie silent film starring early Hollywood icon Lillian Gish.

'I first discovered The Wind when I went to go and see the film', says Portuguese choreographer Arthur Pita. 'As I was watching it I thought, "This is a ballet. This is like watching a dramatic ballet". I went to the source – to the novel by Dorothy Scarborough – and fell in love with it even more.'

The Wind tells the story of Letty Mason, a woman living in rural Texas whose sanity unravels in the grip of an unrelenting tempest.

'It's a western, but from a woman's point of view, so it doesn't have that male dominance', says Pita. 'I call it a gothic western. There's obviously a big danger of falling to cliché there. In a way, you also have to reference where you're at and that's where the music comes in.

As with predecessor The Metamorphosis, The Wind sees Pita once again collaborate with composer Frank Moon, whose slide guitar-heavy, Ry Cooder-esque music soundtracks the piece.

'Because it is about a supernatural force, it can sometimes mean it goes a little bit sci-fi and a little bit heady. The story happens because of the wind, but for me it's an emotional force and a physical force... it is literally fear blowing in.'

Watch more films like this by subscribing to the Royal Opera House YouTube channel:

The Illustrated 'Farewell' / The Wind / Untouchable runs from 6-17 November 2017. Tickets are still available.

The production is staged with generous philanthropic support from Jay Franke and David Herro (The Illustrated ‘Farewell’), The Taylor Family Foundation and the Friends of Covent Garden (The Wind) and Georgina Rosengarten (Untouchable).

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

27 October 2017 at 11.22am

This article has been categorised Ballet and tagged by Arthur Pita, Film, gothic, Hollywood, Lillian Gish, Mixed Programme, Movie, Production, silent film, Texas, The Illustrated 'Farewell' / The Wind / Untouchable, The Wind

This article has 3 comments

  1. Anna responded on 27 October 2017 at 11:41pm Reply

    This is simply enthralling. Congratulations to Kevin O'Hare for letting the Royal Ballet to grow with so many really different works and at the same time reviving or keeping the classics and neoclassics. Not only the repertoire is so rich but the dancers really get to move in so many different ways that they keep growing technically and artistically all the time. That's awesome.

  2. Stuart Dixon responded on 30 October 2017 at 9:32am Reply

    I caught a glimpse of a live stream of this with Natalia and Francesca being rehearsed by Mr Pita from the ROH last week. Is it not available on You Tube to watch? It seems to have completely disappeared.

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