At the helm of this artistic voyage is Serge Laurent, a visionary curator shaping the festival’s narrative, weaving together contemporary dance forms and legendary choreography. Join us in this celebration that blends the rich history of dance with the pulse of modern creativity, showcasing Van Cleef & Arpels’ unwavering dedication to the arts.
What can you tell us about your partnership with the NYU Arts Center in Abu Dhabi?
The NYU Arts Center in Abu Dhabi is one of the first partners Dance Reflections by Van Cleef & Arpels collaborated with after its launch in 2020. Our shared values of creation, transmission and education encouraged us to initiate a dynamic relationship between the arts and the university curriculum, students and professional artists. In 2022 and 2023, this collaboration offered audiences the opportunity to experience performances by the Candoco Dance Company, the Compagnie Hervé Koubi, Yaa Samar! Dance Theatre, and Rachid Ouramdane.
In 2024, our commitment will continue with the presentation of choreographic pieces by Noé Soulier and Ola Maciejewska, two artists we’ve regularly supported. This backing and collaboration with the NYU Arts Center is a first step towards further engagement in the UAE and more generally in the Middle East. After almost 4 years of existence, Dance Reflections by Van Cleef & Arpels can rely on an international network of around 50 partners in 15 different countries. We are looking forward to enriching it in the future to keep supporting the creation and the presentation of works to a wide audience.
What song(s) have you been listening to for a while and why? What music inspires you?
This question is a bit difficult to answer because I listen to so many different styles of music, from classical music to electro and rock. But if you mean to ask which one inspires me, I would say the sound of silence. Silence, if it exists, stimulates me a lot, especially when I go hiking for a few hours or several days. Nature sounds are also a great way to let your imagination run wild. When we are interested in art and make artistic choices, we need to see works but letting the mind return to things and silence also gives a lot of space to the imagination in my opinion. Enjoying these moments of quietness enables me to be fully aware when back in the choreographic universe, an environment in which music comes into play.
What brought you together with Van Cleef & Arpels? And how did this relationship evolve over the years?
My relationship with Van Cleef & Arpels began several years ago when I was curator of performing arts at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. At the time, dance was an important part of the programming that I did for this institution and the High Jewelry Maison provided us with financial support. Then, Nicolas Bos, President of Van Cleef & Arpels, told me of his desire to further develop the Maison’s engagement in dance in keeping with its rich history. The Maison has indeed maintained close ties with the world of dance since the 1920s. These ties were strengthened at the end of the 1940s when Claude Arpels met famous choreographer George Balanchine. This encounter led to the creation of Balanchine’s ballet Jewels, first performed in 1967. Since then, this dialogue has been constantly reinforced with collaborations in favor of the choreographic creation, transmission, and education. Dance Reflections by Van Cleef & Arpels was launched in 2020 with the aim of continuing this promotional effort.
Dance has the power to convey emotions and stories without words. How do you curate performances that resonate with the essence of Van Cleef & Arpels?
It is true that dance transcends the problem of language and that is surely its strength. The choreographic works Dance Reflections by Van Cleef & Arpels presents today mirror the interest the Maison has always demonstrated in this art of movement. Indeed, dance is a source of inspiration the High Jewelry Maison always held dear. Since the 1940s, Van Cleef & Arpels has created ballerinas clips, elegant feminine figures garbed in precious tutus and executing arabesques, jetés and entrechats, traditional dance moves. In return, Dance Reflections by Van Cleef & Arpels aims to support this art and allow it to express itself in all its creativity. Many bridges between these two universes can be made, as evidenced by George Balanchine’s famous ballet Jewels (1967) or more recently Benjamin Millepied’s series of three pieces entitled Gems initiated in 2013, both imagined after encounters with the High Jewelry Maison.
Jewelry and dance have the power to tell stories. Can you share an example where a dance performance brought a unique narrative to life?
Indeed, art is a form of language and therefore dance is a language with its own writing, sometimes explicitly narrative, sometimes inviting more contemplation. What I like about dance is that everyone can receive something different depending on their sensitivity and culture. I would take the example of The Rite of Spring by Pina Bausch recently performed by the École des Sables, a company from Toubab Dialaw in Senegal. Dance Reflections by Van Cleef & Arpels presented this historic work in New York as part of the latest edition of its Festival in October 2023. By attending this performance, the audience was able to discover the story of a young girl’s sacrifice to the god of spring. However, one could also concentrate on its masterful portrayal of the art of movement. Leaving everyone free to linger where they wish is also a value of dance.