llukc - winning a l‘rcc airlinc holiday cotttpctition. .-\ l'ricnd suggcslcd hc conic along to daily class at NYC”. llc suhscqucntly auditioncd. and was acccptcd. to join thc company as a danccr. l)cspitc his ohyious gills onstagc. thcldon ncycr lost thc dcsirc to makc tnoycmcnt himscll‘. In 2()()() hc rctircd lrom dancing to conccntratc on just that.

lidinhurgh audicnccs had a lirst tastc ol‘ \thcldon's uniquc chot'cogt‘altic scnsihility two ycars ago. whcn .\'Y('B prcscntcd thc striking I’o/yp/irmiu on a mixcd hill. 'l'hc dancc is charactcristic of his work - sparc y’ct juicy in its shapcs and rhythms. hristling with kinctic intclligcncc and hracingly musical. ‘l‘m a liltcrf hc says. ‘l'm ahlc to takc a scorc in and translatc it.'

l-‘or hoth thc aw ard-winning I’u/y‘p/uutirl and its sistcr

hallct (‘miliuuum tcrcatcd l’or Sl‘ll in 2002 and part ol' thc upcotning triplc hill). thc scorc \Vliccldon chosc was hy (lyorgi l.igcti. a composcr pcrhaps hcst known for thc thrutmning choral music accotnpanying thc cnigmatic slah in Kuht'ick's 2()()/.' .‘l Spur‘r' ()(lys's'ty‘. ‘l.igcti is so lilttid and tcxturcd. with all thcsc wondcrl'ul colours in his music.‘ thcldon cnthuscs. ‘\\'hat hc says in his piano picccs has a conncction with (‘hopin. whosc work is almost narratiy c. Ligcti. although discordant and quitc contcmporary. is sitnilar. lt's tun to ligurc ottt a narratiyc.‘

\thcldott wasn't always so happily challcngcd. ‘I’oly‘p/mniu was quitc a slt'ttgglc. 'l'hc lirst l‘cw days w crc agony. “l hatc this music? It's ugly?" But I did it on purposc. I'd just comc from doing Viyaldi’s l-imr Seamus for Boston Ballct. and l kncw I could makc a prctty dancc.'

l’olyp/tom'u ccrtainly clickcd. (hut/mum]. a piccc tor tour lcotard-clad couplcs punctuatcd hy solos and ducts. is an cycn tnorc artistically maturc hcattty with a stringcnt. oddhall majcsty all its own. ‘A lot of my work has hccn purcly ahstract. But I hopc thcrc arc laycrs and laycrs going on undcrncath. The only way you can try to achicyc that is hy putting somcthing tnorc into thc dattcc than physical or chorcogt‘aphic tcchniquc. I always add a littlc somcthing c.\tra. cycn it it docsn't cnd up hcing comtnttnicatcd through thc tttoy cmcnt spccilically. 'l'hcrc just has to hc a scduction.’

Docs that kind of intcraction cy'cr happcn in rchcarsal'.’ ‘.>\shton always said hc felt it ncccssary to tall hcad oycr hchs in low with his danccrs.' \thcldon rcpliCs. ‘.-\nd hc did. particularly with thc malcs. To a dcgrcc you hayc to hc attractcd to cach othcr. .\'ot ncccssarily sc\ually. But thcrc has to hc somc . . f llc scarchcs tor the right words and hcgins ancw'. ‘thn you strike up a covenant with a danccr. that pcrson has to hayc something to ot'l’cr you. It catt happctt on

many diltcrcnt lc\cls. lltct‘c can hc an unspokcn dyttatttic. l'yc also workcd with pcoplc with whom I'm in a rclationship. I‘hat can lk‘ ittct‘cdihlc L‘l'ctlll\ c illlkl intcnsc. It can also hc a tcrrihlc

ohstaclc.‘ .'\\ all asidc hc :Itltlsi "I‘hat's what's grcat ahottt working in a \aricty ol' placcs. You rcspond \cry dillcrcntly to cach ttcw sct oldanccrs.‘

'l‘hc SIJB programmc is roundcd out hy "I’hcrc \thrc Shc l.o\cd‘ t‘Quitc a naiyc piccc. a good wat'tnup act‘ t. with music l'rom ('hopin and Kurt \Vcill. and tltc world pt'ctttict'c ‘Rush‘. lcaturing cight couplcs dancing to Hohusloy .\lartinu's Sinl‘onictta 'la .lolla‘. ()l' thc latlcr \thcldon hints: 'lt may cycn hc a tttttt hallct.‘

'l‘owards thc cnd ol our cott\ct‘saliott hc admits: 'l‘m glad you didn't ask ltow it‘s going lolch whcn it all stops or turns ncgatiycf 'l‘his. wc hoth know. is not somcthing hc nccds to worry ahottt now. ‘llut il' onc tnorc pcrson says I‘m lltc nc\t (icorgc Balanchinc or .lct'otttc Rohhins or .r\sltlott I'm going to pack up my hags and go gat‘dclt somcw hctc.‘ hc ,iokcs.

What is his grcatcst strcugth and wcakncss'.’ '.\ly strcngth is hcing ahlc to ttto\c thc attcntion. thc spotlight asidc and locus on my work. My w cakncss is not hcing ahlc to do that.‘

finally. I ask why hc tttakcs danccs. “I do it to tttakc pcoplc happy. or to lccl somcthing. llatc. lo\c, It somconc cotttcs tip to mc w ith [cars in thcir cy cs. that's why I do it.'

‘If someone comes up to me with tears in their eyes, that's why I do it‘

Edinburgh Playhouse, 473 2000, 28 & 29 Aug, 7.30pm; 30 Aug, 2pm & 7pm, 27-237.


I San Francisco Opera Ballet was estaottsnert Ill 1933 under the direction of Adolph Bolm. In 1912. the companies separated and \J‘flllr’t'ti Christensen became director ot’ San Franosco Ballet. The column, made its European debut in 1981 at the Edinburgh International Festrxel. In 1983 it moved into anew 813.8m home. This year It became the first prefewamvn dance company in America to celebrate its 70th aririrxersary.