La Pluie

  • Choreographer: Annabelle Lopez Ochoa
  • Music: J.S. Bach, Aria from Goldberg Variations
  • Costumes: Costume and Lighting Design - Annabelle Lopez Ochoa
  • Lighting: Costume and Lighting Design - Annabelle Lopez Ochoa
  • World Premiere: 2005, in Black Rain, Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève
  • PBT Performance Date: March 24-27, 2022 at August Wilson African American Cultural Center in Pittsburgh

Program Notes

La Pluie (meaning “the rain” in French) is an evocative contemporary pas de deux with choreography that is angular, off-center and yet surprisingly fluid. The duet was originally the closing section of a larger work called Black Rain, a ballet on the theme of war and peace. This closing section, wherein the dancers are dressed in simple, skin-toned attire, expresses that beyond all conflicts, the essence of humanity and human relations is the search for unity and love.

The dancers are in constant motion, swirling around and through one another. They are also nearly always touching – at times in complex partnering and at times in simple gestures – this continual connection makes the movement elaborately interdependent, extremely challenging and profoundly beautiful.


La Pluie is set to the Aria in Goldberg Variations. This beloved work for keyboard was composed by J.S. Bach and published in 1741. Named for Johann Gottlieb Goldberg, who may have been the first performer of the work, it has a simple, startling beauty. Goldberg Variations consists of the Aria, followed by 30 variations and an Aria da Capo, a repeat of the opening aria. It has been recorded many dozens of times by renowned pianists, as well as by musicians interpreting it with other instruments.

For La Pluie, the Aria is preceded in the performance by about 60 seconds of overtone singing, a deep, tonal humming sound created by a technique in which singers voice two notes at one time.

The Aria has been used in scores for film and television, perhaps most famously in the movie The Silence of the Lambs.