Concept and choreography: Tatiana Baganova
Set design: Vera Sokolova, Yaroslav Frantsev
Sound design: Valery Vasyukov
Lighting design: Maxim Sergachev
Running time: 60 minutes
Premiere: November 2016
The piece was awarded the Golden Mask for Best Production in Contemporary Dance (2018)
The piece is based on the fables of Aesop, La Fontaine and Krylov “The Dragonfly and the Ant” (or “The Ant and the May Bug", “The Grasshopper and the Ant.”) But, as usual, Tatiana Baganova does not illustrate the story of a hard-working ant and a beautiful and idle dragonfly. In the fictitious dimension, the characters' attitudes are much more complicated than in the didactic works of the classics.
The bodies and souls of the heroes undergo drastic transformation. Their love, care and support are not measured by the "nature of exchange". The characters are born, fall in love, wander through the labyrinth of relationships, die and come to life, continuously interact in dance, and change costumes like animals shedding their skins. The never-ending life cycle is repeated again and again on the stage, just as in nature, demonstrating an evolution of relationships and feelings. The story of the dragonfly and the ant is an eternal story of a man and a woman, a man and a society, a soul and a body.
Valery Vasyukov, the sound designer, created the score for the piece. He intertwined the fragments of the popular tunes and strange, almost otherworldly sounds: automated rhythmic exercises and creaking sounds, all dangerously beating on the eardrums of the audience.
The choreography of Provincial Dances is not a classical ballet. Tatiana Baganova does not entertain the public, or replicate the traditional style. She makes the audience think.
The first two showings had no title for the piece. The Theatre left it up to the audience to choose a name for the piece. The audience did not disappoint: since the beginning of December, Provincial Dances Theatre received more than 400 name suggestions for the premiere piece. Each had its own idea, and its own story.
"There was a large number of options and some ideas were helpful in our discussion with the dancers. The title "Traps of Our Individuality" proposed by one of the spectators was transformed into Imago-Trap, the final name for the piece,” says Tatiana Baganova.
The choreographer and her team implicate two alternative meanings in the name "Imago-Trap". On the one hand, imago is the adult stage in the development of an insect, when it becomes capable of reproduction and dispersal. On the other hand, imago is a subconscious recollection of a close person, formed in the early childhood.
I read a lot about dragonflies and ants and I got very different and new information about their social and mental systems. For me now it’s a question of character: the person who is very light, very natural is a person of arts; and that person is not needed in the system of the ant where everything is rational, predetermined, structured, very strict. This is a very philosophical question because it highlights the clash of the society and the individual.
Tatiana Baganova, Interview with Dance ICONS (International Consortium for Advancement in Choreography)
Helmets resembling the fencing masks of rapier fighters or beekeepers, and strange elongating “pipes" are only a taste of the piece’s design and choreography. In fact, it does not tell us a story about the life of insects. The story is about the attempts of coexistence with “the like” and “the others.” It is not easy to find a common language between the “ants”, stuck on the ground, carrying the weight of responsibility and the easy, light "dragonflies" who are not afraid of high supports.
A conflict of insects is an occasion to talk about our capability to stop denying a stranger and sometimes even accepting his way of life. As usual, the choreographer puts her own twist on the story. Baganova interprets the parable as an allegory for the interaction of a person of arts with "ordinary" people.
...Avoiding the straightforwardness, the choreographer still clearly outlines the beginning of the plot, the climax, and the finale. It leaves a strong impression on the audience, transmitted by the strength of muscles and ligaments. Are we ready to see the objective reality? Are we mentally capable of perceiving reality on our own, without believing everything that is imposed on us?
Tatiana Baganova’s (Provincial Dances Theatre, Ekaterinburg) choreographic piece at first had no name: the audience was invited to come up with its own ideas for the title at the premiere showings. As a result, someone thought of "Imago", meaning one of the stages in the development of an insect, in reference to "dragonflies" and "ants". [...] Stemming from the classic fables of Krylov, La Fontaine and Aesop, Baganova created a poetic, inspired dance parable about a Man and a Woman, the clash of Masculine and Feminine, and the life of the Soul and the Body.
Daria Andreeva, Snob