In Absentia

David Hallberg in In Absentia

Production Photos

David Hallberg In In Absentia
David Hallberg In In Absentia
David Halberg in In Absentia

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22 October 2019

Creative Team


Nathalia Ossipova/Sadler's Wells


Kim Brandstrup


Johann Sebastian Bach
Chaconne in D-minor, Part 1

Costume Design

Christina Cunningham

Lighting Design

Jean Kalman


David Hallberg

In Absentia

Nathalia Osipova/Sadler's Wells
Sadler's Wells Theatre, London, 22 October 2018

Programme Note

The ‘absence’ of the title has two very different resonances. Firstly, it refers to a treasured moment in the creative process when a dancer has learnt and absorbed a new dance and sits back and just listens to the music. Withdrawing into himself he is temporarily ‘absent,’ his stillness and remote expression registering his intense concentration, totally absorbed in the music, mysteriously embodying the music while charting the movements of the choreography.

David knew the Chaconne well when we started rehearsals in the studio and I was immediately struck by how he would hear and process the music in this way—his focused ‘withdrawn’ concentration was there from the first day. A yet more mysterious sense of ‘absence’ emerged when we were working in the studio. It became a shared journey, as we tried to make sense of the huge emotional impact the music was having on us both. As the solo violin soared through the empty rehearsal room, the music made the room feel strangely empty and deserted. Even when the instrument filled the room with sound, it somehow made the space seem vast and desolate. The music intensified a sense of solitude surrounding David: he seemed alone, abandoned in a void, wrapped in an uncanny sense of something or somebody no longer being there, having left, departed, gone...

— Kim Brandstrup