Second Breath / Commissions

Second Breath was choreographed by Russell Maliphant in 2014 in commemoration of WW1.  Commissioned by Tamara Rojo for English National Ballet – for the Lest We Forget program. Lighting design by Michael Hulls, sound score by Andy Cowton and costume design by Stevie Stewart.

Russell’s approach to create this piece was to evoke an emotional response in an abstracted form with a larger group of dancers. Each section resonates with the inevitable outcome of war – the separation of loved ones that occurred, camaraderie, care and displacement and a deep lament for the loss of the fallen.

The collaborators collected images of burnt out landscapes and gained access to listen to the Imperial War Museum’s collection of archive recordings of traumatised soldiers (some of which were incorporated into the sound score by Andy Cowton).

For the costume design Stevie and Russell took a deconstructed approach to the traditional khaki-toned military jacket for both genders. Raw edges and bullet holes with built-in flashes of red fabric symbolise damage and trauma whilst simple under garments allow for the jacket to represent the journey and devastation of war.

For the central duet, Russell worked with 2 couples, Tamarin Stott/Nathan Young and Alina Cojocaru/Junor Souza to unify his balance of classical line and partnered lifts with a contemporary vocabulary.

The Lest We Forget program won a South Bank Show Award in 2015 for Best Dance Production.


Creative Team


Russell Maliphant 

Lighting Design:

Michael Hulls 

Collaborative Assistant:

Dana Fouras 


Carys Staton


Andy Cowton 


Ben Foskett

Costume Design

Stevie Stewart

Photograph by:

Dana Fouras