Sorrow Swag

Author : Lewis, Ligia
Creation date : 2015

Recorded at the CND 9 April 2016


Sorrow Swag

As the first opus in the – BLUE RED WHITE – trilogy, Sorrow Swag « anatomy of melancholy », looks into issues of race, self-representation, gender, paternity and grief. This piece by American choreographer, Ligia Lewis, is one of heart-felt emotion : set to the electro rhythms of live music by George Lewis Jr. (from Twin Shadow), a body appears, fades, and then reappears shrouded in a dense blanket of blueish fog. The blueish hues take us back to Beckett’s Not I, or Anouilh’s rendition of Antigone. These are sources of inspiration for Ligia Lewis are the means by which she summons up the blues, this feeling of shared sadness, and melancholy which is so violently rejected in our happiness-obsessed societies. In this performance, the blues sculpts the dancer’s body into a state of perpetual movement, bringing to the surface a choreographic language of a troubling, intoxicating kind.

Through this process of total immersion in visuals and sound, the choreographer sets up interplay between language, text, affect and movement.

The piece centers on gender and race-inspired melancholy, two sources of contemporary, insurmountable grief and soul-searching. Oscillating between the intimate and the collective, politics and aesthetics, Sorrow Swag conjures up, through dance, the spoken word and exclamation, a very real, hypnotic « anatomy of melancholy ». This frightening piece envelopes us in dream-like fashion, lost in the midst of different layers of sadness. And joy, which it could give rise to - it if only if it was allowed, at times, to emerge.


Choreography and conception Ligia Lewis

Performer Brian Getnick

Music by George Lewis Jr. (Twin Shadow)

Work presented during the Carte blanche at the American Realness New York festival

Duration 43 minutes
A film by CND
Upadting: June 2016

Lewis, Ligia

Ligia Lewis originates from the Dominican Republic and lives in Berlin and Los Angeles. She has worked with Ballets C de la B, and the Superamas collective, as well as choreographers Eszter Salamon, Mette Ingvartsen and Jeremy Wade. Since 2005, she has been using a blend of theatre, dance and text in the creation of her own work. Her award-winning pieces have been performed extensively in Europe and the USA. Sorrow Swag won the Jardin d’Europe prize at ImPulsTanz 2015 in Vienna.

This video is also available on


Centre national de la danse

Centre national de la danse

Founded in 1998, the Centre national de la danse (CND) has advantages which make it a unique centre dedicated to dance. Its strengths come from its assets: the skills of its staff and the diversity of specialisation offered; a renovated and comfortable building in Pantin (Paris), twelve studios, three of which are open to the public for shows or performances, a multimedia library, a projection room, collections and a whole range of training courses, resources and services for professionals and companies. The Lyon/Rhône-Alpes CND provides continuity for all the projects in its region.

See collection