Russell Maliphant & Vangelis

15 to 17 August

Photo: Matthias Leitzke

Choreography: The Thread (German premiere)

15-17 August, 8:00 pm, Hafen 1

Introduction to the work on 15 August, 7:15 pm, Hafen 1 foyer

Duration: approx. 1 hour and 20 minutes



The Thread (German premiere)

Choreography: Russell Maliphant
Music: Vangelis
Lighting: Michael Hulls

"The Thread" is a choreography inspired by the Minotaur, a mythical Greek creature with the head of a bull and the body of a man held captive in a labyrinth in Naxos on the island of Crete and regularly sacrificed in Greek rituals. Theseus, an Athenian hero, comes to Naxos to put an end to this bloody rite. To keep him from getting lost in the labyrinth, Ariadne, the king's daughter, gives him a ball of thread, enabling him to retrace his path back to the entrance and escape from the labyrinth. For Russell Maliphant, this myth is contemporary in three ways: The Minotaur represents primal human instincts, the labyrinth is a symbol of unexplored depths in the human psyche, and Ariadne's thread is often interpreted as predestined fate. More than in any other European nation, dance plays a significant role in Greece. It is part of everyday life, religion, tradition and ancient myths. This inspired Maliphant to bring ancient Greek dance forms together with a contemporary vocabulary of movement and to use this encounter to develop a unique creative power and artistic form. A special ensemble of 18 dancers was formed for this purpose. Some of them are trained in traditional Greek dance and some in western contemporary dance. Following this approach, Vangelis transformed Greek traditional music into space-filling electronic sounds. The opulence and imagery of this highly-expressive soundtrack is reminiscent of the music for major cinematic productions.


Russell Maliphant is one of the leading dancers and choreographers of his generation. He danced in Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet before joining the independent dance scene in 1988. Maliphant supplemented his classical dance training with studies in physiology, biomechanics, and Rolfing, a form of hands-on physical manipulation. This versatility had a lasting effect on his work. He has choreographed works for, among others, the Ballet de l'Opéra de Lyon and the Israeli Batsheva Dance Company. His tributes include the Olivier Award and the Critic's Circle National Dance Award for Best Choreography. Maliphant has been an associate artist with Sadler's Wells, London since 2005. He presented the choreography "AfterLight" at the Movimentos Festival in 2010 as part of the Diaghilev homage "In the spirit of Diaghilev" and also appeared at the Autostadt with his company in 2016.


For the production of "The Thread", Maliphant and his long-time creative partner, lighting designer Michael Hulls, joined fashion designer Mary Katrantzou to work together with one of the greatest composers of our time. Vangelis is regarded as one of the forefathers of electronic music – and he achieved this status without conventional training. At the age of four, he composed his first pieces on the family piano and publicly performed these compositions at the age of six. As a teenager, he encountered the emerging world of electronic instruments. This enabled him to explore a new approach to his creativity. Over the years, he has set up studios and laboratories in Paris, London, Athens and Rome. He has worked across the globe with distinguished singers, artists, playwrights, poets, choreographers, filmmakers, athletes, physicians and scientists. His music for the film "Chariots of Fire" won him an Oscar and his score for the movie "Blade Runner" is world famous. Now, after more than 40 albums and 20 movie soundtracks, music for two ballets, six musical works, three choral symphonies, major audio-visual spectacles, and numerous honours, awards and titles, he is once again expanding the horizons of electronic music by using it to connect with acoustic symphonies.