Marco Goecke’s Lonesome George was first performed 2015. The touching and captivating work for 11 dancers was named after a giant tortoise called Lonesome George from the Galápagos Islands. It was originally thought that this tortoise, which died in 2012 at over one hundred years of age, was the last of its subspecies. That wasn’t the case, however, as others were later found on nearby islands.
“The story of George is a metaphor for my ballet. The dancers seem to be alone, too, but that’s not true either. There is always hope,” the choreographer says. “Loneliness is central to the tragedy of humanity, and dance can express that particularly intensely. The human body is a prison; we are constrained by our inability to step out of our bodies. It’s this feeling that gives me the substance for my work.” The score for Lonesome George is Dmitri Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 8 in C minor.
Goecke’s inventive ‘goeckesque’ movement language consists of curious, even surreally ethereal moves, in time, space and the human body. Goecke works as the permanent visiting choreographer of the Stuttgart Ballet and the Nederlands Dans Theater. In addition to this, his works have been performed by the Hamburg Ballet, Scapino Ballet Rotterdam, the Norwegian National Ballet and the dancers of New York City Ballet. Lonesome George had its world premiere in Düsseldorf by the Ballett am Rhein.