New dance performance features costumes made of spider silk

Mist is the second collaboration between choreographer Damien Jalet and artist Kohei Nawa, with spider silk costumes designed by Sruli Recht

Costumes designed by Sruli Recht out of knitted spider silk for Damien Jalet’s show Mist
(Image credit: press)

How do you make a substantial dance performance out of mist? That was the question that faced choreographer Damien Jalet, artist Kohei Nawa, and designer Sruli Recht as they developed their new project for Nederlands Dans Theater.

Their answer is seen in Mist, an operatic video depicting cadaverous dancers writhing in and out of plumes of smoke inspired by the thick ‘Dutch fog’ that comes off the North Sea. 

Mist dance performance

Still from dance performance Mist, choreographed by Damien Jalet, with costumes designed by Sruli Recht out of knitted spider silk

(Image credit: press)

The show is one of a series of three collaborations between Jalet and Nawa, beginning with 2016’s critically acclaimed Vessel, which saw dancers engage in the staccato, almost primordial movements that have characterised Jalet’s previous work; he has also worked with film director and Wallpaper* Design Awards judge Luca Guadagnino on horror movie Suspiria, and his opera Pelleas et Melisande (with a set by Marina Abramović). Jalet’s choreography for Mist is more fluid than his previous work, with elastic, undulating movements that are accentuated by costumes designed by Sruli Recht.

Recht’s designs for Mist are a technical marvel. The skin-tight, whisper-thin costumes are made out of fabric spun from spider silk so that they cling to the body like clouds. Recht is no stranger to working with unconventional materials, having previously made clothes from fragments of the oldest meteorite to have landed on Earth, leather made from dolphin skin, skunk fur, and aluminium-infused lambskin. Yet, working with spider silk proved a particularly intricate problem.

Still from dance performance Mist, choreographed by Damien Jalet, with costumes designed by Sruli Recht out of knitted spider silk

(Image credit: press)

To make it work, Recht and his atelier partner Flavia Bon made an entirely new type of material by knitting the filament into fabric-like sheets and then fitting them to each dancer’s body. The final result is, as Recht puts it, ‘a costume as light as mist, as graphic as anatomy, as elegant as choreographic motion, and strong enough to be punished through movement over time’.

Mist debuted on the Nederlands Dans Theater website in January 2022.

INFORMATION

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