Artist Statement

a sculpture about the ballet Jeux

Are they young athletes presenting emblems of their sport, or showing their medals? Dancers bowing with grand bouquets? Warriors, bearing arms, maybe wounded?

Three’s Company is one of many storyboards and boxes in our London exhibiition about the lost ballets I have reconstructed with my husband and art director, Kenneth Archer. Entitled “Dance Detectives Diary” the exhibition recounts our world travels to preserve 20th century avant-garde masterpieces. We were dubbed “dance detectives” when we reconstructed Nijinsky’s 1913 ballet The Rite of Spring in 1987. The name stuck.

Three’s Company is about Jeux, another Nijinsky ballet from 1913. The exhibition includes sample videos of the reconstructed ballets and a diary style catalogue created with our photographic collaborator, Shira Klasmer, with images and texts about the storyboards and boxes. Assemblages of found objects, sometimes rough, sometimes refined, they chronicle our journey. Often present are the tools of making art and always there are small mirrors—metaphors of life in dance—which bring viewers into each storyboard and box.

Jeux we made in Italy for a premiere with the Verona Ballet in 1996. Then, over a period of two decades, we staged it with the Royal Ballet London, Joffrey Ballet Chicago, Rome Opera Ballet and, maybe the best of all, with teenagers at the University of North Carolina.

Captions: Figure 1, Jeux drawing by Millicent Hodson. Figure 2.Three’s Company photo by Shira Klasmer. Figure 3. Athletic medals. Figure 4. UNCSA 2013 trio, Shelby Finnie, Anthony Sigler and Clara Superfine. Figure 5. Bows at 1996 Verona premiere, dance detectives Archer and Hodson with dancers Carla Fracci and Alessandro Molin. Figure 6. Royal Ballet 2000 trio, Gillian Revie, Bruce Sansom and Deborah Bull. Three’s Company background on the ballet Jeux

How did this short trio Jeux, nonchalantly anglicized as Games, predict World War I, anticipate the loss of a generation of young men, show the anguish of separation that war always causes, and confront its audience with such a paradoxical climax: rivalries become bonds for survival through love and a crashing tennis ball suggests aerial bombardment, the original weapon of mass destruction. A lot to achieve in 20 minutes of Debussy’s score.

Every lost ballet that we have found has reunited elderly dancers, each of whom mentored us through their memories. And each reconstruction was a treasure hunt for documents that, once reunited, proved what had happened in the dance that had disappeared and put it in the context of its time and ours. The storyboards and boxes in the Dance Detectives Diary exhibition likewise reunite the detritus of our working life from specific locales of our productions with our studio drawing board where this three-dimensional diary finds form.

Captions: Figure 1, Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes 1913 trio, Tamara Karsavina, Ludmilla Schollar and Vaslav Nijinsky. Figure 2, Verona Ballet 1996 trio, Beatriz Rodriguez, Alessandro Molin and Carla Fracci. Figure 3, Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes 1913 trio, as above. Figure 4, Soldiers in World War I. References Kenneth Archer and Millicent Hodson,Three’s Company, Dance International (Canada), Summer and Fall, 1996. Games People Play: Jeux Young at 100, dancetabs (UK), 2013. › 2013/07 › games-people-play-j… Brief Biography: Millicent Hodson An American choreographer and visual artist, works with the English scenic consultant and art historian Kenneth Archer to reconstruct and stage modern masterpieces and create productions through Ballets Old & New. They collaborate with major companies worldwide, publish their research, lecture and do workshops. They published The Lost Rite (2014) with photographer Shira Klasmer for the centenary of Le Sacre du Printemps (Le Sacre du Printemps) and the twenty-fifth anniversary of their reconstruction. Hodson is the author of Nijinsky’s Crime Against Grace on Sacre (1996) and Nijinsky’s Bloomsbury Ballet: Jeux (2008). Her dance drawings are often exhibited and published. A series of five bijoux books, Balanchine’s Twenties, Hodson and Archer launched with editorial designer Elizabeth Kiem (2019-2021). Award-winning documentaries on their reconstructions include films on Nijinsky’s Rite and Balanchine’s Le Chant du Rossignol. Hodson was the Selma Jeanne Cohen dance lecturer for the International Fulbright Conference in Athers (2004). The couple have received the Positano Prize in Italy for preservation of dance (2017), a Nijinsky Medal from Poland and various fellowships.

GENRE: SCULPTURE (storyboard about the reconstructed 1913 ballet Jeux