Margaret was introduced to Rambert Principal Hannah Rudd who instantly shared a vision for the creative possibilites of this film. Soon after her colleague Miguel Altunaga was on board as well. The choreography was devised by Williams, Rudd and Altunaga.
Thanks to Margaret's dedication to this project in assembling a highly skilled and talented crew 'Dante Sonata' become a reality.
Margaret writes - In Dante’s Divine Comedy there are two characters. In the film they are performed and choreographed by two extraordinary dancers: Hannah Rudd, Beatrice - Divine Knowledge and Miguel Altunaga Virgil - Human Reason.
Virgil and Beatrice are Dante’s guides through Hell and Purgatory, the two dancers are our ‘guides’ in the film. Choreographically we explored themes of Desire, Unrequited Love, Memory, Death and Loss and examined the movement through the eyes of Virgil and Beatrice. How they see each other and how they see themselves is part of the story.
Filming took place at Londoneast-UK in November 2019.
The incredible Dante Sonata film has been made from an unlikely combination of opportunity and collaboration.
Russian pianist Arina Lazgiian was on the verge of completing her studies on the prestigious Artist Diploma course at the Royal College of Music in London. She had also been awarded the Benjamin Britten Piano Fellowship at the college, an award only given to the very finest piano talent of the whole conservatoire.
As part of Arina's Fellowship award she had an opportunity to use a small budget to embark on a creative project of her own. To launch her career as a concert pianist Arina had always set her heart on making a dance film to solo piano music. She is as passionate about dance as she is about music. Her Mother was a ballet dancer in her native Moscow.
When asked why Liszt's Dante Sonata, Arina replied "It is very beautiful, temperamental and romantic music and it would provide contrast and passion for a beguiling choreography".
By way of beautiful connections and coincidences, the Executive Producer Sally Sparrow met award-winning Director Margaret Williams, acclaimed for her music and dance films.
Margaret Williams' titles include a feature film of the Britten opera 'Owen Wingrave', The Daily Telegraph wrote: The result is probably the best film version of an opera yet made. It lays out a lucid exposition of a complex work and, with virtually every shot, illuminates both score and text. Wonderful performances are obtained from a highly talented cast.’ Margaret has a celebrated collaboration with American choreographer Victoria Marks including multi award winning films 'Outside In' with Candoco and Mothers & Daughters. Their dance film 'Veterans' was performed and co-created with US Veterans from the West Los Angeles combat rehab/PTSD clinic and won First Prize at the 'Premi Internacional VideoDansa', Barcelona. In the year of Britten’s centenary, Margaret filmed the outstanding, and much acclaimed 'Peter Grimes on Aldeburgh beach.
Hannah Rudd is a British Principal Dancer with the Rambert company, London. Hannah was part of the creation and performance of Ben Dukes ‘Goat’ at Rambert and its subsequent nomination for an Olivier award.
Other career highlights include; Touring extensively throughout Europe, Asia and America with The Michael Clark company, and performing at The Lincoln Centre in New York. Whilst at Rambert, Hannah has performed the role of ‘Ruby Tuesday’ in Christopher Bruce’s iconic Rooster. She has also co-created and performed leading roles in works by Mark Baldwin, Kim Brandstrup (the award-winning Transfigured Night), Merce Cunningham, Aletta Collins, Ben Duke, Malgorzata Dzierzon, Adonis Foniadakis, Itzik Galili, Shobana Jeyasingh, Ashley Page, Didy Veldman and Alexander Whitley.
Other info: Hannah’s continues her dedication to delivering an authentic, versatile performance as an artist, expanding her skills to choreography and collaboration with artists from other practices.
2018 saw Hannah begin a relationship with Fallen Angels Dance Theatre, a company using dance theatre as a vehicle to help people recovering from addiction.
Cuban Daner Miguel Altunaga is a Principal Dancer at Rambert in London. Miguel's Rambert highlights are working with choreographers Hofesh Shechter, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Itzik Galili and Christopher Bruce, and being nominated four times by the National Critics’ Circle for Outstanding Male Performance. Miguel won the Cuban Best Male Solo Award in 2002 and in 2003 was chosen by Carlos Acosta to perform in Tocororo, which toured internationally from 2003 to 2007. Miguel also choreographed and appeared in Mikel Gurrea’s documentary Txoria and the ballet film Love Tomorrow (dir. Christopher Payne), winner of the Best UK Feature prize at the Raindance Film Festival 2012.
Other info: As a choreographer, Miguel has created work for the National School of Ballet, Cuba, Danza Contemporanea de Cuba and for the bands Simply Red and The Zutons. He created Memoria for Carlos Acosta at the London Coliseum and Derrumbe for Acosta’s Cubania evening at the Royal Opera House. He was commissioned by Kevin O’Hare, Director of The Royal Ballet, to create Dark Eye for the Deloitte Ignite Festival 2014 (Royal Opera House). He has created three works for Rambert’s New Choreography platform and one of these, Don’t Think About It, has joined Rambert’s repertoire.
Arina Lazgiian, concert pianist, was born in Krasnoyarsk, Russia in 1991. In June 2019, she graduated from the Royal College of Music in London with the Artist Diploma, under Professor Vanessa Latarche. She won the RCM Concerto Competition 2017 performing Saint-Saëns’ Concerto No. 2 twice with the Royal College of Music Symphony Orchestra. Arina also won the Hopkinson Gold Medal for piano in 2017. She was a finalist in the Jaques Samuel Intercollegiate Piano Competition at Wigmore Hall in 2017.
Arina was selected to go through to the final stages of The Ferruccio Busoni International Piano Competition in Bolzano, Italy in 2019. In July 2019 Arina won the third prize on ‘Flame Concours’ in Paris, France.