Van Cleef & Arpels' Dance Reflections programme to launch in London

Zoe Gunn

17 January 2022

The landmark celebration of dance will bring together three of the capital’s most prestigious institutions

17 January 2022 | Zoe Gunn

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rench fine jewellery house Van Cleef & Arpels has announced that Dance Reflections, its long-term programme supporting and celebrating the world of modern dance, will launch in London this March. Initially conceived in a festival format, with a schedule devised in collaboration with Sadler’s Wells Theatre, the Royal Opera House and Tate Modern, Dance Reflections will showcase 17 modern and contemporary dance performances spanning new productions, alongside major repertory works dating back to the 1970s.

Among the highlights is Set and Reset, Trisha Brown’s seminal 1983 performance piece, which has recently been acquired by Tate Modern. As part of Dance Reflections, two stagings of Set and Unset will be offered: a faithful reconstruction by Rambert Dance Company alongside Unset, a free, regular dance lecture series by Rambert and Candoco Dance Company that aims to provide a rare peek inside the choreographer’s mind.

Set and Reset performed by Candoco Dance Company. Image: Chantal Guevara

Also not to be missed is Boris Charmatz’s Infini – which explores the human relationship to numerical values and the possibilities of freeing yourself to count to infinity – and four works from aunt-and-niece team Lucinda and Ruth Childs. Built, not through collaboration, but instead a process of layering and reimagination that took place when Ruth inherited a series of famed solos from her aunt, these pieces interrogate the core principles of modern dance and the transient nature of visual art. These works will also be complemented by a restaging of Lucinda Childs and Philip Glass’ famed 1979 minimalist work Glass, which will be performed by the Lyon Opera Ballet.

Elsewhere, new works making their debuts will include When We Speak I Feel Myself, Opening by Serafine1369; a duet studying the weight and emotions we all carry with us when we move, as well as the first UK production of Neighbours by Brigel Gjoka and Rauf ‘RubberLegz’ Yasit. Inspired by the work of legendary choreographer William Forsythe, the piece draws on the pair’s Kurdish and Albanian roots, as well as their careers as a cutting edge contemporary dancer and abstract B-Boy, respectively.

Running from 9-23 March 2022, the programme is being overseen by Serge Laurent, Van Cleef & Arpels’ dedicated Dance and Cultural Program Manager, in partnership with Sadler’s Wells' Artistic Director Alistair Spalding, Kevin O’Hare, Director of the Royal Opera House, and Catherine Wood, Senior Curator of International Art at Tate Modern.

Dance by Lucinda Childs. Image: Jaime Roquedela Cruz

Speaking at a launch event at the Royal Opera House in January, the group were keen to stress the importance of Dance Reflections, not just for its support of the contemporary dance scene, but also for the highly unusual way it has created collaborations between both disparate cultural institutions, the headline sponsor and venues.

“This has been a beacon of light during the darkness of the past two years,” explains Wood. “This kind of collaboration between institutions is a direction of travel we aspire to. It’s great for the artists and allows us to be bold. We’re listening to the artists and they don’t see these boundaries; they move naturally between institutions.”

“Our mission is always to take these art forms to a wider audience and this is a unique way of working with a sponsor,” adds Spalding. “That Van Cleef & Arpels have helped curate [the festival] is unheard of but they have such history and sensitivity that it has worked. This model is going to become a really important way of working as we come out a difficult period for the arts.”

Fase by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. Image: Anne Van Aerschot

Van Cleef & Arpels has long been intertwined with the dance world both through its jewellery, which since the 1940s has included depictions of ballerinas and dancers, and through Louis and Claude Arpels’ own love of ballet. The latter went on to work with choreographer George Balanchine on Jewels, a balletic triptych inspired by gemstones and featuring music by Fauré, Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky.

More recently the house has supported choreographer Benjamin Millepied’s company, L.A. Dance Project, on a number of productions, including the three-part Gems series and 2021’s modern reimagining of Romeo & Juliet, as well as offering the annual Fedora – Van Cleef & Arpels Prize for Ballet since 2015, recognising excellence and innovation in new dance works.

Dance Reflections, 9-23 March 2022, dancereflections-vancleefarpels.com

Read more: The essential 2022 cultural calendar