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The clash between individual identity and cross-cultural dislocation sets worlds in motion in a new 2018 commission for RIOULT Dance NY

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RIOULT Dance NY Premieres Nostalghia at the Joyce Theater

Posted on July 31, 2018 by RIOULT Dance NY
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From May 30th-June 3rd, 2018 RIOULT Dance NY presented the world premiere performances of Nostalghia to audiences at the Joyce Theater in Chelsea, NY. 

The work, which served as the finale for the company’s 2018 NY Season program Written for Dance, showcased the extraordinary collaborative efforts of choreographer Pascal Rioult and composer Polina Nazaykinskaya. 

Throughout the creative process, Ms. Nazaykinsaya was a regular presence in the rehearsal studio working side-by-side with Mr. Rioult and his Company of 10 dancers to capture the essence of nostalgia, and explore the conflict of maintaining a meaningful connection to the past while seeking a better world in the limitless expanse of space and time.

Pulling from both the old and the new, Nostalghia’s creators explored movement and music reflective of multiple eras including traditional Russian chant, disco, and current popular music. Where traditionally one art form might guide the other, Nostalghia was truly a collective effort with both creative arms moving, changing, and finding inspiration in each other.

The performances featured seven live musicians performing Nazaykinskaya’s score, lighting designs by long-time RIOULT collaborator Jim French, and costumes by Naomi Luppescu. Audiences and critics alike praised the work for its seamless and organic melding of music and dance, and it’s ability to inspire and reflect.

Nostalghia is one of Mr. Rioult’s most successful collaborative projects to date and RIOULT Dance NY looks forward to presenting the work for audiences as part of the Company’s repertoire for years to come.



The past is present, the future disruptive in NOSTALGHIA, a bold new collaboration between choreographer Pascal Rioult and emerging Russian/American composer Polina Nazaykinskaya. Produced by RIOULT Dance NY for a 2018 premiere, this 25-minute work for the full company of 10 dancers features a commissioned score for six musicians – a string quartet augmented by piano and clarinet.

In creating NOSTALGHIA, Rioult and Nazaykinskaya examine the individual’s relationship to their cultural history, and how this can both complicate and enrich one’s sense of identity and belonging within our fast-paced, globalizing modern world. The work focuses more specifically on the dichotomy of how a country’s rich folk traditions persist in the face of the growing influence of western pop culture. NOSTALGHIA is a reference to the film of the same name by acclaimed Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky, which depicts a man’s journey to uncover his cultural history and reconcile his findings with his own life choices. In addition to the subject matter, Rioult is also deeply influenced by Tarkovsky’s cinematic style – particularly the use of symbolism, minimal dialogue, long takes, and visual composition – and will explore translating these concepts into the choreography and the overall aesthetic of the work.

The theme of negotiating one’s identity in tumultuous times will be central to Nazaykinskaya’s musical composition, which will include a combination of classical, folk, and western pop music. It will also be expressed through the production design: long¬time RIOULT collaborator Brian Beasley will complement the movement and music with a projected visual “score” juxtaposing excerpted clips from Tarkovsky’s film with footage of present-day life. Other key members of the creative team include RIOULT Associate Artistic Director Joyce Herring and lighting designer Jim French. NOSTALGHIA will be staged with live musical accompaniment, maintaining RIOULT’s commitment to providing audiences the increasingly rare experience of concert dance performed to live music.

NOSTALGHIA completes a triptych of Rioult dances reflecting the historical relationship between Russian classical music and dance through three distinct artistic periods: The Romantic (Rioult’s Dream Suite (2014) set to Tchaikovsky’s “Orchestral Suite No. 2 in C Major”), The Neo-Classical (Rioult’s Les Noces (2005) set to Stravinksy’s “Les Noces”), and present day (NOSTALGHIA). These three works will be performed as an evening-length program for the Company’s 2018 NYC season at The Joyce Theater, May 30-June 3, 2018, with the world premiere of NOSTALGHIA taking place on opening night. NOSTALGHIA will then enter the Company’s active repertory for touring during the 2018-19 season.

Discussing the project, the choreographer explains, “Polina and I are both intrigued by the interaction between tradition and innovation in the evolution of our art forms, and I am thrilled to work with her as she creates her first-ever score for dance. In her music, I hear folkloric references to her Russian heritage that follow in the tradition of Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky, merged with more contemporary sounds. She expresses a depth of emotion and longing that to me, feel perfectly attuned to capture that elusive feeling of nostalgia.”

Project Media

Cassandra’s Curse
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“Cassandra’s Curse”, which premiered at the Joyce Theater in 2016, is the product of a very successful collaboration between choreographer Pascal Rioult and composer Richard Danielpour who worked hand in hand throughout the creation of both the score and the choreography. Rioult’s commitment to commissioning new music from contemporary American composers aligns with the company’s mission and elevates both the art and the process of creating of new work.

Silver Awakening
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“In ‘Silver Awakening’ I explore the notion of time and the role of memory in our lives, how time through our perception becomes a prolonged experience in which instances obtain new meaning, and how the amalgamation of various moments influences our assessment of reality, creating new points of reference. Through my music, I manipulate the fabric of time and pull the audience away from a conventional linear understanding of time.” – Polina Nazaykinskaya

Dream Suite
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“Dream Suite” (2014) is a contemporary take on romanticism. The contrasting mood of Tchaikovsky’s “Orchestral Suite No. 2 in C Major” is juxtaposed with more aggressive, rhythmic and athletic movement. The palette is inspired by the paintings of Marc Chagall and this thoroughly contemporary work delves into surreal as it evolves. This piece illustrates Pascal’s inherent musicality and his layering of neoclassic movement over a romantic score.

Start and End Dates



New York, New York

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Last update on July 31, 2018

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May 30, 2018 | New York, NY
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New York City, New York
Founded in 1994, RIOULT Dance NY fast became an established name in modern dance with a reputation for presenting the sensual, articulate, and exquisitely musical works of Pascal Rioult. The New York City-based dance company presents an annual New York season, tours internationally, conducts extensive in-school arts education and community outreach programs, and offers dance…

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