Misericordes is the term for a type of medieval blade used in combat, or to kill gravely-wounded knights as an act of mercy. As the name of Christopher Wheeldon’s creation for the Bolshoi, it might as well been named Misery Chords.
There is definitely no deliverance here, as the choreographer struggles to bring to fruition his vision through the turmoil of language barriers, befuddled dancers and the larger-than-life Nikolai Tsiskaridze.
Tsiskaridze seems content to deal multiple small stabs to Wheeldon before dealing the merciful fatal blow by dropping out (et tu, Brute?). It’s as close to a no-holds-barred look into the creation of a new work as well as the Bolshoi. This is probably helped by the fact that unknown to the Bolshoi, the filmmakers are Wheeldon’s friends from the ballet world, Ballet Boyz and former Royal Ballet dancers Michael Nunn and William Trevitt. In fact, so desperate little headway is made by Wheeldon that he has to call on one of them to step in as dancer and work with him instead, later feeding the resulting choreography to Bolshoi dancers thoroughly unused to participating in the creation process.
Misericordes is shown in full as part of the documentary.
Other facts learnt: Bolshoi primas get a 90% discount at Grishko. How can we get on that bandwagon?!