Dance, myth and film combine

Modern dance meets film in «Gleaming of a Faun,» an ambitious production by choreographer Albrecht Knust’s French dance troupe Quatuor which will be performed at the National Opera this Saturday and Sunday. The upcoming performances, which constitute part of a tribute focusing on Greek mythology in film, «Cine-Mythology: Greek Myths in International Film,» were co-organized by the Cultural Olympiad, the four-year series of cultural events leading up to the Athens Olympics, as well as by the Thessaloniki International Film Festival. The production is based on a myth that has been frequently interpreted from the Renaissance to this very day, in various art forms, about a faun’s love for a nymph. The legend tells of a faun resting on a hill when seven nymphs appear. The creature attempts to play with the nymphs but they are quickly frightened away. However, one of the nymphs decides to stay behind and lets the faun get closer. She, too, though, takes flight soon after, terrified like the rest. A veil dropped by the nymph plunges the faun into a sexual fantasy. The myth about the love-struck faun, a mix of romantic innocence and erotic sensuality, has been a source of inspiration for scores of artists. It inspired the 19th century French poet Stephane Mallarme to write «The Afternoon of a Faun.» In turn, Debussy was inspired to compose music based on Mallarme’s poem, and, later still, the composition prompted one of modern dance’s most significant choreographies, Vaslav Nijinsky’s «Afternoon of a Faun.» Knust’s upcoming production, which features Emmanuelle Huynh, France’s new dance sensation, in the lead role, combines movement, music, word, film, literature, and hi-tech means. The work remains faithful to Nijinsky’s ideas and ancient Greek myths, without fearing innovation. Its first part develops with mathematical precision along the lines of Nijinsky’s choreography before deviating into more contemporary modes of interpretation. The dance troupe’s new interpretations are based on extensive studies conducted by Knust’s team on the myth of the faun. Information was gleaned from as far back as ancient Greece, through the examination of ancient Greek vases, the Romantic period and up to contemporary literature. Knust’s quartet, one of Europe’s most prominent modern dance troupes, was formed by the shared desire by those involved to introduce modernism into dance.