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Van Dantzig, Van Schayk, Van Manen

“Dutch Masters”
Dutch National Ballet
Dutch National Opera & Ballet
Amsterdam, Netherlands
September 25, 2016

by Ilona Landgraf
copyright © 2016 by Ilona Landgraf

1. Y.Gyo Choi and Q.Liu, “Episodes van Fragmenten” by T.van Schayk, Dutch National Ballet © H.Gerritsen 2016Dutch National Ballet’s latest mixed bill was all-Dutch. It assembled four pieces by three pivotal choreographers of the Netherlands: “Vier letzte Lieder” (“Four Last Songs”) by Rudi van Dantzig (1933 – 2012), the company’s artistic director for twenty years; “Adagio Hammerklavier” by Hans van Manen (born: 1932) ; plus “Episodes van Fragmenten” and “Requiem”, both by Toer van Schayk (born: 1936). This wasn’t lightweight entertainment but a program upon which to ponder. I attended the last performance, the Sunday, September 25th matinée.

Van Schayk’s history with Dutch National Ballet spans more than fifty years, during which he danced, choreographed and designed sets and costumes. For the occasion of his eightieth birthday later this month, dancers and artistic collaborators 2. Y.Gyo Choi and Q.Liu, “Episodes van Fragmenten” by T.van Schayk, Dutch National Ballet © H.Gerritsen 2016plus Ted Brandsen, the troupe’s current artistic director, paid tribute to him in a video which opened the program. Van Schayk was shown in old b/w video footage and more recent takes of him rehearsing, painting, sculpting. In short, he was being creative throughout. Short scenes from ballets he choreographed or designed whetted our appetite to see complete revivals. His kindness and warmth radiated from the screen even for those who do not know him in person.

3. Q.Liu and Y.Gyo Choi, “Episodes van Fragmenten” by T.van Schayk, Dutch National Ballet © H.Gerritsen 2016Although he is officially retired, Van Schayk’s latest creation, “Episodes van Fragmenten”, premiered at the season’s opening gala earlier this month. The eleven-minute piece for two dancers (Qian Liu and Young Gyu Choi) and two musicians (pianist Michael Mouratch and violinist Jeroen van der Wel) highlights what Van Schayk is known for: his plastic approach to movement and his 4. Y.Gyo Choi and Q.Liu, “Episodes van Fragmenten” by T.van Schayk, Dutch National Ballet © H.Gerritsen 2016use of dancers as mobile sculpture. Clever accentuation and positions, held just long enough to be perceivable, together with an overall smooth, fluent style mesmerized the eyes. Liu and Gyo Choi sketched a relationship that included several mood swings but no explicit story – except for one scene in which Liu wants to leave and Gyu Choi prevents her by barring the way. Several times the focus of the action shifted to the musicians, who were giving a rendition of Eugène-Auguste Ysaÿe’s “Extase, opus 21” on the left side of the stage. To a gently trippling piano melody and tender violin sounds, Liu and Gyo Choi finally knelt in front of the musicians in acknowledgement of their skill. Then the pair stood up, turned around and, with a last look back, departed hand in hand. Van der Wel followed them a few steps, eliciting a tone on his violin that sounded so tender that I imagined Van Schayk finishing one of his paintings with the softest of brushstrokes.

5. Ensemble, “Requiem” by Toer van Schayk, Dutch National Ballet © H.Gerritsen 2016For “Requiem”, choreographed in 1990, Van Schayk had turned to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Requiem”. Actually, only fragments are by Mozart. He died while composing it and it was completed by two of his pupils. Van Schayk used his own new translation of the Latin verses, which mainly deal with mankind’s fear of the Last Judgement. However, the sung text is of lesser importance since hardly anyone can decipher either the Latin original or the translation. The choreography conveys grief and consolation, loneliness and community, and the inevitability of having to pay the bill. Individuals and the community are both confronted with responsibility for their deeds, for having failed. The realization that we are all part of the community, 6. A.Shesterikov and F.Eimers, “Requiem” by T.van Schayk, Dutch National Ballet © H.Gerritsen 20167. A.Babenko, I.de Jongh and Y.Gyo Choi, “Requiem” by T.van Schayk, Dutch National Ballet © H.Gerritsen 2016no matter how much we try to distance ourselves, leaves one with an oppressive feeling. But Van Schayk also shows the power inherent in the group, a power that helps sustain but also helps to change our behavior. What makes “Requiem” forceful is that Van Schayk abstained from pointing the accusing finger, that he depicts pity but not self-pity. Pathos is avoided.

8. Ensemble, “Requiem” by T.van Schayk, Dutch National Ballet © H.Gerritsen 2016Once again, the choreography is imprinted by Van Schayk the visual artist. This time he carved crowds in motion interspersed with small clusters and solo dances. Several things contribute to the sum visual effect: the weight of the sheer number of dancers onstage; the group arrangements – in a long line, in blocks, in rows or in surprising huddles. The movement, either unison or split into subgroups, is attention getting. Contrast between the simple black and dark purple body suits and the dancers’ light skin color intensified the visual impact. Van Schayk’s set design uses a spare palette, one reduced to gray and b/w. At the beginning, a pale orange moon was shown shining on the backdrop. Later, shots from a wobbly hand-held camera projected unidentifiable images. Were these close-ups of corals or a brown ink blot in water?
9. Ensemble, “Four Last Songs” by R.van Dantzig, Dutch National Ballet © H.Gerritsen 2016According to notes in the program booklet, what Van Schayk has addressed throughout his choreographic career was our collective guilt in destroying creation. How we deal with nature concerns him.

Following the first performance of “Dutch Masters” in mid-September, the Dutch minister of culture honored Van Schayk by appointing him an Officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau. The minister’s words were, “Toer van Schaijk is multi-talented. … You cannot sum him up under one heading, and that makes him a wonderful, unique person.”

10. I.de Jongh, J.Varga and ensemble, “Four Last Songs” by R.van Dantzig, Dutch National Ballet © H.Gerritsen 2016Also dealing with serious topics, with mortality, parting and the afterlife was Van Dantzig’s “Four Last Songs”. The music, by Richard Strauss, was composed in 1948 when he felt the end of his life approaching and, given his experience of World War II, he took inspiration from poems by Herman Hesse and Joseph von Eichendorff. The four songs were not intended to be a song cycle and were arranged so and named so only posthumously.
Van Dantzig created a pas de deux for each song, with the respective leading couple joined on occasion by the pairs from the other songs. “Frühling” (“Spring”) was danced by Michaela DePrince and Remi Wörtmeyer, “September” by Sasha Mukhamedov and James Stout, “Beim Schlafengehen” (“When Falling Asleep”) by Anna Ol and Artur Shesterikov, and “Im Abendrot” (“At Sunset”) by Igone de Jongh and Jozef Varga. Vito Mazzeo as an angel, clad in a purple, served as 11. J.Stout and S.Mukhamedov, “Four Last Songs” by R.van Dantzig, Dutch National Ballet © H.Gerritsen 2016connecting figure from song to song. For each pair, he was in charge of one partner’s transition from this life to the afterlife. Despite symbolizing death, he was the herald of a peaceful state. This ballet’s sedate atmosphere was augmented by a backdrop showing a romantic, hilly landscape covered by immense clouds (set design by Van Schayk). During the course of the piece, the sun sets over the hills and there is a red evening sky. The costumes, also by Van Schayk, had the painted scene’s warm hues.

Compared to Van Schayk, Van Dantzig uses a more predictable movement language. The strength of his work lies in the great sensitivity with which mortality and the loss of a beloved are addressed. Van Dantzig kept gloom and heaviness at bay 12. A.Shesterikov and A.Ol, “Four Last Songs” by R.van Dantzig, Dutch National Ballet © H.Gerritsen 2016by making his dancers look almost ethereal. Longing and sadness are transformed into calm acceptance. The feeling of consolation in “Four Last Songs” is strong.

Van Manen told the late critic Horst Koegler that he came across Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Hammerklavier Sonata” by accident. A young German friend of his, a “music freak”, often came around with a huge pile of records and it always contained that piece of music. Van Manen hadn’t heard anything like it before, nor did he know of pianist Christopher Eschenbach. However, his respect grew and he became convinced that his fanatical German friend knew what he was doing. Having already choreographed Beethoven’s “Große Fuge”, Van Manen felt encouraged to 13. J.Varga and I.de Jongh, “Adagio Hammerklavier” by H.van Manen, Dutch National Ballet © H.Gerritsen 2016tackle the “Hammerklavier Sonata”. He even opted for the recording with Eschenbach when starting to work. At the Sunday ballet matinée, we heard the sonata live with Olga Khoziainova at the piano.

The ballet, made for three male/female couples, premiered with Dutch National Ballet in 1973. Like all of Van Manen’s works it has no expiration date. Notes in the program booklet say that “Adagio Hammerklavier” was considered exceptionally lyrical for Van Manen back in 1973 and that it is one of his most romantic works. In fact, the choreography gives subtle proof of this. Van Manen created this adagio of adagios as an “ode to deceleration”. He slows down movement to a minimal pace 14. A.Tsygankova and D.Camargo, “Adagio Hammerklavier” by H.van Manen, Dutch National Ballet © H.Gerritsen 2016while charging it with retained energy. Only a very few times does the dancers’ curbed power burst forth and send out sparks.

The choreographic language is minimalistic and crystal clear. Mostly the dancers look down. Their few instances of eye-contact were straightforward and without emotion but all the more trenchant for it. Prominent yet simple necklaces for the men, and earrings and brooches for the women, added some glitter to the otherwise unadorned costumes (light blue dresses for the women and white pants for the men). The most tender element on stage was in Jean-Paul Vroom’s video on the backdrop, showing the drapes of a delicate, gray-blue curtain gently billowed by wafts of air. The three couples were Anna Ol / Artur Shesterikov, Anna 15. J.Varga and I.de Jongh, “Adagio Hammerklavier” by H.van Manen, Dutch National Ballet © H.Gerritsen 2016Tsygankova / Daniel Camargo and Igone de Jongh / Jozef Varga. All brought expressive strength to every inch of their performance. Camargo is blessed with the strongest stage presence.

“Dutch Masters” provided a good opportunity to compare the work of the three most prominent Dutch choreographers. I’m not that often in Amsterdam and was delighted to see singer soloists involved for the first time. Barbara Haveman sang the “Four Last Songs”; Machteld Baumans, Helena Rasker. Marcel Reijans and Frans Fiselier interpreted Mozart’s “Requiem”. At the conductor’s podium of the Het Balletorkest was Matthew Rowe.

16. D.Camargo, A.Tsygankova, A.Shesterikov, A.Ol, J.Varga and I.de Jongh, “Adagio Hammerklavier” by H.van Manen, Dutch National Ballet © H.Gerritsen 2016

Link: Homepage of Dutch National Ballet
 Video Toer van Schayk
Photos: “Episodes van Fragmenten” (Toer van Schayk)
 1. Young Gyo Choi and Qian Liu, “Episodes van Fragmenten” by Toer van Schayk, Dutch National Ballet
 2. Young Gyo Choi and Qian Liu, “Episodes van Fragmenten” by Toer van Schayk, Dutch National Ballet
 3. Qian Liu and Young Gyo Choi, “Episodes van Fragmenten” by Toer van Schayk, Dutch National Ballet
 4. Young Gyo Choi and Qian Liu, “Episodes van Fragmenten” by Toer van Schayk, Dutch National Ballet
“Requiem” (Toer van Schayk)
 5. Ensemble, “Requiem” by Toer van Schayk, Dutch National Ballet
 6. Artur Shesterikov and Floor Eimers, “Requiem” by Toer van Schayk, Dutch National Ballet
 7. Anatole Babenko, Igone de Jongh and Young Gyo Choi, “Requiem” by Toer van Schayk, Dutch National Ballet
 8. Ensemble, “Requiem” by Toer van Schayk, Dutch National Ballet
“Four Last Songs” (Rudi van Dantzig)
 9. Ensemble, “Four Last Songs” by Rudi van Dantzig, Dutch National Ballet
10. Igone de Jongh, Jozef Varga and ensemble, “Four Last Songs” by Rudi van Dantzig, Dutch National Ballet
11. James Stout and Sasha Mukhamedov, “Four Last Songs” by Rudi van Dantzig, Dutch National Ballet
12. Artur Shesterikov and Anna Ol, “Four Last Songs” by Rudi van Dantzig, Dutch National Ballet
“Adagio Hammerklavier” (Hans van Manen)
13. Jozef Varga and Igone de Jongh, “Adagio Hammerklavier” by Hans van Manen, Dutch National Ballet
14. Anna Tsygankova and Daniel Camargo, “Adagio Hammerklavier” by Hans van Manen, Dutch National Ballet
15. Jozef Varga and Igone de Jongh, “Adagio Hammerklavier” by Hans van Manen, Dutch National Ballet
16. Daniel Camargo, Anna Tsygankova, Artur Shesterikov, Anna Ol, Jozef Varga and Igone de Jongh, “Adagio Hammerklavier” by Hans van Manen, Dutch National Ballet
all photos © Hans Gerritsen 2016
Editing: George Jackson

 

Quarrels at the State Ballet Berlin Continue

State Ballet Berlin
Berlin, Germany
September 22, 2016

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2016 by Ilona Landgraf

1. Ensemble of the State Ballet Berlin © State Ballet Berlin 2016The announcement that Sasha Waltz and the Royal Swedish Ballet’s artistic director Johannes Öhman will succeed Nacho Duato at the helm of the State Ballet Berlin in the 2019/20 season is still creating massive waves. Michael Müller, Berlin’s governing mayor and cultural senator since 2014, and Tim Renner (both SPD), state secretary for cultural affairs, announced the news on September 7th, just before the elections in Berlin. Since then, the two men have been facing trouble. Recently, another decision of theirs, the appointment of the Belgian Chris Dercon, director of the Tate Modern in London, who will follow Frank Castorf at the Berlin Volksbühne, caused harsh criticism as well. Müller and Renner are accused of making these decisions alone, behind closed doors, resistant to the advice of others. (more…)

A Conversation with Tadeusz Matacz

John Cranko School
Stuttgart, Germany
September, 2016

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2016 by Ilona Landgraf

1. Tadeusz Matacz © T.Matacz The Cranko School is one of the most renowned ballet schools of the world, a talent pool known for excellence and, according to surveys at the Youth American Grand Prix (YAGP), the second most favored school among students after London’s Royal Ballet School. When I arrived in Stuttgart in mid-September to find out about the school’s formula of success, I was surprised. Located in the Urbanstrasse, around 0,6 miles distance from the State Opera, the five-story building is unremarkable in the row of houses. Only a metal plate next to the entrance reveals that this is the school John Cranko founded in December 1971, ten years after he had taken over the reins of Stuttgart Ballet. (more…)

Behind the Scenes at the Bavarian State Ballet

“Ballet Extra: A Day of Rehearsals”
Bavarian State Ballet
Ballet Rehearsal Premises, Platzl 7
Munich, Germany
September 10, 2016

by Ilona Landgraf
copyright © 2016 by Ilona Landgraf

1. K.Ryzhkova and O.Gouneo rehearsing “Giselle”, Bavarian State Ballet © S.Ballone 2016Igor Zelensky’s directorship at the Bavarian State Ballet kicked off for the public last Saturday with a “Ballet Extra”. The doors of the rehearsal studios in Munich’s City Center were open from 9:45 AM well into the afternoon. The company – or more precisely its principals, soloists and demi-soloists – rehearsed “Giselle”, the season’s first production, and “Spartacus”. Corps dancers weren’t involved.

People queued up in front of the entrance that morning and it seemed a sizeable crowd although, according to new press spokesperson Annette Baumann, it was slightly smaller than last year’s. Given that it was a lovely late summer day, people may have preferred to spend their free time outdoors rather than in stuffy studios full of hard working dancers. (more…)

A Bright Opening

“Gala”
Dutch National Ballet
Dutch National Opera & Ballet
Amsterdam, Netherlands
September 07, 2016

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2016 by Ilona Landgraf

1. Grand Défilé, Dutch National Ballet © M.Schnater 2016Amsterdam’s National Opera House always radiates a light and welcoming atmosphere. This was especially so at this season’s opening gala on September 7th, which saw large crowds, women in evening gowns, flocking into the buzzing foyer amid flurries of camera flashes around the red carpet.

From the start the Grand Défilé, which opened the gala, gained warm-hearted applause. The program of the following three-and-a-half hours had been kept as a surprise. It included three highlights. (more…)

Palucca’s Legacy

Palucca University of Dance Dresden
Dresden, Germany
August, 2016

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2016 by Ilona Landgraf

1. Palucca University Dresden, main building © K.Hirsch“I could identify with the Palucca School and its values” says Brooke Squire, who is in her last year of the Bachelor program of the Palucca University in Dresden. The nineteen-year-old had started her dance training at Stuttgart’s John Cranko School, but four years ago decided to move, because “unlike in Stuttgart, where the focus is on classical ballet, in Dresden it is half on ballet, half on contemporary. We are more involved in the creative process and the teachers are open to communication.” (more…)

“I feel like Lensky”

Semyon Chudin, Bolshoi Ballet
Royal Opera House
London, Great Britain
August, 2016

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2016 by Ilona Landgraf

1. S.Chudin © Bolshoi TheatreI first saw Semyon Chudin dance in Stuttgart Ballet’s end-of-the season gala this July. He had danced the Wedding Pas de Deux from “Sleeping Beauty” next to Anna Osadcenko and immediately caught my attention. Chudin has an aura, which only a great personality is able to radiate.

As it happens the Bolshoi toured London for three weeks during this summer. One and a half weeks after the Stuttgart gala I sat in the Royal Opera House, watching the company in Jean-Christophe Maillot’s “The Taming of the Shrew”. The following day I met Chudin in the Opera House’s cafeteria to talk about his career and his life offstage. We spoke twice, first in the afternoon, and, after rehearsals and with translation support by Sonia Serduk, a longstanding friend of Chudin from St. Petersburg’s Mikhailovsky Theatre, again in the evening. Chudin’s English is good but he feels more at ease when speaking Russian. I guess our group of three attracted attention as we had much fun.

Chudin is natural, kind and easy-going. He does not make the slightest attempt to cultivate a glossy image of himself or to feign a conformist mindset. Telling people what they want to hear isn’t his. The timbre of his voice simply reveals his true opinions. Centered in himself Chudin radiates calmness but at the same time is very self-critical. After the Stuttgart gala he asked Filip Baranciwicz and Mikhail Kaniskin to give him corrections. How many principals act in the same way? “One could always improve something. When you’re satisfied with yourself you should stop,” he later stated. (more…)

Grand Glamor

“Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo”
Theaterhaus Stuttgart
Stuttgart, Germany
August 09, 2016

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2016 by Ilona Landgraf

1. Ensemble, “Swan Lake” after L.Ivanov, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo © S.VaughanFor almost a week the venerable “Trocks” have been doing themselves the honor of guesting at Stuttgart’s Theaterhaus as part of an extended tour through Germany. A packed house duly welcomed them and was generously rewarded with a mixed bill of iconic classics. I saw the program on opening night which, “in accordance with the greatest tradition of Russian Ballet”, slightly differed from what had been announced in advance. Instead of the “Pas de deux Mystérieux” we were presented with the threesome of the “Le Corsaire Pas de Deux”, “Go for Barocco” and the “Dying Swan” which were framed by Act II of “Swan Lake” and the Grand Pas Classique of “Paquita”. (more…)

Maillot’s Idea of How to Tame

Taming of the Shrew”
Bolshoi Ballet
Royal Opera House
London, Great Britain
August 03, 2016

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2016 by Ilona Landgraf

1. E.Krysanova and V.Lantratov, “The Taming of the Shrew” by J.-C.Maillot, Bolshoi Ballet © M.Logvinov/Bolshoi TheatreThe Bolshoi Ballet’s three-week tour to London draws crowds of ballet aficionados to the Royal Opera House. Every evening each of the five productions is sold out. Those include the much-loved classics, “Swan Lake”, “Don Quixote” and “Le Corsaire”, as well as “The Flames of Paris” by Alexei Ratmansky and Jean-Christophe Maillot’s “The Taming of the Shrew” which premiered two years ago at the Bolshoi. “Shrew” was scheduled only twice. I saw the first performance.

Similar to Kurt-Heinz Stolze’s Scarlatti-pastiche for John Cranko’s “Shrew”, Maillot also cobbled together the score. He assembled less well known film music and excerpts of symphonies by Dmitri Shostakovich which go along with the events on stage like lubricating oil. Whether swooshing or romantic, the Orchestra of the Bolshoi Theatre under Igor Dronov’s baton played with verve.

The story sets off at the estate of Baptista, a wealthy lord in Padua. But the two broad, curved outdoor stairs arching over the house’s entrance, designed by Ernest Pignon-Ernest, don’t relate to any specific town. Baptista is beset with two daughters, the prickly Katharina and her younger sister, the much-adored Bianca. But the latter will not be allowed to marry until Katharina first wears her wedding ring. (more…)

Done For Reid

Stuttgart Ballet’s Festival Weeks: “Gala”
Stuttgart Ballet
Stuttgart State Opera
Stuttgart, Germany
July 24, 2016

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2016 by Ilona Landgraf

1. R.Anderson, guests and ensemble,”Stuttgart Ballet Gala” © Stuttgart Ballet 2016Not even a quarter of the way into Reid Anderson’s twentieth jubilee gala, this leader of the Stuttgart Ballet confided to the audience that “We’re both done for and, by the way, I’m a bit gaga.” By “we” he meant himself and Tamas Detrich, his Associate Artistic Director. Detrich, though, will take charge after the 2017/18 season. What was going on ? (more…)

A Little Summit

Stuttgart Ballet’s Festival Weeks: “John Cranko School Gala”
John Cranko School
Stuttgart State Opera
Stuttgart, Germany
July 23, 2016

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2016 by Ilona Landgraf

1. Students of the John Cranko School, “The Four Seasons”: “Spring” by K.Kozielska © Stuttgart Ballet 2016Last Saturday’s gala of the John Cranko School was only expected to be the overture for the company’s big final gala on the following day. Yet it proved to be a treat in itself.
How often is new choreography made on students? On the occasion of the Ballet Festival Weeks celebrating Reid Anderson’s twentieth jubilee as artistic director of Stuttgart Ballet, four former graduates choreographed to the music of Antonio Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons”, each one responsible for one season. Marco Goecke’s “A Spell on You”, also created for the Cranko School and premiered earlier this year, was shown again. Guest students from schools in Paris, London, Toronto and Hamburg allowed one to compare training, but first and foremost the event highlighted a feeling of togetherness. The gala was streamed live to the outdoor audience of “Ballet in the Park” in front of the opera house. (more…)

The Talent Scout

Stuttgart Ballet’s Festival Weeks: “Sketches”
Stuttgart Ballet
Kammertheater Stuttgart
Stuttgart, Germany
July 17, 2016

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2016 by Ilona Landgraf

1. A.Osadcenko and J.Reilly, “Delta Inserts” by K.O'Day, Stuttgart Ballet © Stuttgart Ballet 20162. A.Osadcenko and J.Reilly, “Delta Inserts” by K.O'Day, Stuttgart Ballet © Stuttgart Ballet 2016In Stuttgart the ballet season reached its climax this July. Reid Anderson’s twentieth jubilee as artistic director is being celebrated with a vast program of extras for three weeks. On July 3rd he had allowed insight into his life and career in the talk “Everything you Always wanted to Know…”. The film documentation “Miracles and Superheroes – 55 Years Stuttgart Ballet” received its cinema premiere on July 15th. It was broadcast on television on July 20th. (more…)

There is Nothing Like Being Naughty

“b.28” (“Esplanade”, “Tenebre”, “Different Dialogues”)
Ballett am Rhein
Opera House Düsseldorf
Düsseldorf, Germany
July 10, 2016

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2016 by Ilona Landgraf

1. W.S.Chan, A.Simões, D.Becker, V.Hoffman, C.Andriot and B.Narnhammer, “Esplanade” by P.Taylor, Ballett am Rhein © G.Weigelt 2016Last Sunday the Ballett am Rhein began summer break after a final performance of “b.28”. This time the triple bill lacks choreography by the company’s artistic director Martin Schläpfer. Instead it combines three ensemble pieces by others: Paul Taylor”s “Esplanade”, Hubert Essakow’s “Tenebre”, and “Different Dialogues” by Nils Christe.

Works by Paul Taylor are very rare on German dance stages. It was a welcome chance to see a key work of the “naughty boy of Modern Dance”, as Taylor jokingly called himself in a 2013 video. “It was not acceptable what I was doing…” recalls Taylor about his beginning in the mid 1950s in New York. (more…)

Give Us Today Our Daily Bread

“Turangalȋla”
Hamburg Ballet – John Neumeier
Hamburg State Opera
Hamburg, Germany
July 05, 2015

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2016 by Ilona Landgraf

1. C.Evans, “Turangalȋla” by J.Neumeier, Hamburg Ballet © K.West 2016Traditionally Hamburg Ballet opens its annual Ballet Days with the season’s second premiere. This July John Neumeier’s “Turangalȋla” saw the light of day. It is set to Olivier Messiaen’s symphony of the same title, composed in 1948. “Turangalȋla” is derived from the Sanskrit words “turanga” and “lila” roughly meaning a “love song and hymn of joy, rhythm, life and death”. I saw the second performance after the premiere. Unfortunately, one found little to delight in.

Choreographing to Messiaen’s symphony has been on Neumeier’s wish list since the 1960s. But Messiaen persistently refused to give his approval. He deemed the composition a sacral work not meant to be danced to. (more…)

For the last Time

“Für die Kinder von gestern, heute und morgen”
Bavarian State Ballet
National Theater
Munich, Germany
June 29, 2016

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2016 by Ilona Landgraf

1. D.Sukhorukova, N.Losada, Z.Zahradniková, J.Cook, J.de Andrade, L.Engel, N.Strada, G.Romano, S.Ferrolier, M.Dilaghi, A.Tuzil, R.Strona, S.Throop, M.Navarrete Villalba and M.Urban, “Für die Kinder...” by P.Bausch, Bavarian State Ballet © Bavarian State Ballet 2016Last Wednesday Ivan Liška’s era at the helm of the Bavarian State Ballet ended after a final performance of Pina Bausch’s “Für die Kinder von gestern, heute und morgen” (“For the Children of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”). Together with him a large part of the company is leaving. There could have been no better piece than Bausch’s for this event. “For the Children…” tells of what makes life alive: being foolish, crazy, full of joy, desperate, sad and over the top, showing off, trying togetherness, falling in love, quarreling and playing mean games. Many situations are absurd, all are touching. Love is a core topic, emotions in general are. (more…)