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Shirin Neshat takes the stage with Dutch ballet

Iranian-born artist works with the Polish choreographer Krzysztof Pastor on an interpretation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest

The Tempest premiers on 18 June at the Dutch National Ballet

The Iranian-born artist Shirin Neshat is working with the Polish choreographer Krzysztof Pastor on a ballet based on William Shakespeare’s The Tempest. The performance, which is due to have its premier on 18 June at the Dutch National Ballet, includes a cinematic film installation designed by Neshat and choreography arranged by Pastor for more than 60 dancers.

The project began after Pastor saw Neshat’s 2006 exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. At the time, he was the resident choreographer of the Dutch National Ballet (his 2009 ballet Sheherazade, was also inspired by Neshat’s work) and he wrote to the artist to discuss a possible collaboration. “We wanted a story that included video and dance, and we chose The Tempest because of its strong psychological and existential connotations,” Neshat tells The Art Newspaper. Shakespeare’s play relates the story of a sorcerer named Prospero, the rightful Duke of Milan, and his daughter Miranda, who have been banished from Italy to a remote island by the Duke’s brother. Because it touches on themes of displacement, it resonates with Neshat’s earlier work, which has often focused on exile and loss.

“We shot most of the film in Holland and now we’re watching the rehearsals and carefully going back between the dancers and the editing room,” Neshat says. The ballet is due for seven performances in Amsterdam and will later move to Warsaw, where Pastor is now the director of the Polish National Ballet. There are plans for a Singapore edition as well, and Neshat hopes the play will come to New York in the future.


Neshat shot the film for the installation in Holland
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