Théâtre des Champs Élysées

Life in Progress
Sylvie Guillem

A stellar performer takes her last bow with this contemporary dance repertoire

Techne  (Creation 2015)
Akram Khan  choreography
Alies Sluiter  music
Prathap Ramachandra, Grace Savage, Alies Sluiter  musicians
Sylvie Guillem  dancer

Duo  (new ersion 2015)
William Forsythe  choreography
Thom Willems  music
Brigel Gjoka, Riley Watts (The Forsythe Company)  dancers
Tanja Rühl  lights
Brigel Gjoka et Riley Watts  stage directors

Here & After  (Creation 2015)
Russell Maliphant  choreography
Andy Cowton  music
Sylvie Guillem, Emanuela Montanari (Scala Ballet)  dancers

Bye  (2011)
Mats Ek  choreography
Ludwig van Beethoven  music
Sylvie Guillem  dancer

Thanks to an uncontrolled skid, I performed the first curtsey of my career 39 years ago.

As pupils at the Paris Opera ballet school, we were always late for class, but we had to greet all the dancers from the company that we happened to meet as a matter of form. What made this all the more difficult was the fact that these dancers were distant and blithely convinced of their own importance, and had a habit of suddenly appearing in front of us without any warning. In this complex maze of corridors burnished by time and the skids of previous generations, this became an even more perilous exercise. When we were running full pelt, we suddenly had to apply the brakes “in position” in front of the person in question. This involved “extending the arms in a V-shape pointing downwards and genuflecting on the supporting leg, with the back foot pointed and tucked into the ankle on the ground.” We tried to hold this position as a mark of respect for at least half a second, before trotting off to the next class. These choreographed attempts at politeness defied the laws of gravity and were less than graceful, but it didn’t matter as they did the job!

After 39 years of “training”, I have decided to make my final curtsey, without skidding uncontrollably on this occasion.

The 2015 tour will visit all the stages I have danced on for the last time, with a new show to say thank you, with gratitude and a great deal of emotion, and featuring two works and two reprises: Akram Khan, Russell Maliphant, William Forsythe and Mats Ek.

I have loved every moment of the last 39 years and I still feel the same today. Why? Quite simply because I want to stop while I am still enjoying what I do, as ever, with passion and pride.


Somewhere out there is a friend, a “sleeper agent” to whom I have given a “licence to kill” in case a lack of clear-sightedness makes me linger too long on the stage. Frankly, I would rather spare him this mission! 

It all began with an uncontrolled skid, a thrilling journey and a deliberate change of direction: a Life in Progress... My life.

Sylvie Guillem


Eric Ruf

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Sylvie Guillem

Extrait du spectacle Life in Progress avec Sylvie Guillem.


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