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Disappointing

“Autumn Matinee of the Heinz Bosl Foundation”
Ballet Academy of the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich / Bavarian Junior Ballet
National Theater
Munich, Germany
November 27, 2022

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

1. Students of the Ballet Academy of the University of Music and Performing Arts, “Exercices” by J.Broeckx et al, Heinz Bosl Foundation 2022 © M.-L.BrianeMost ballet schools present their work to the public once a year. Munich’s Ballet Academy performs twice, in spring and fall, usually joined by the Bavarian Junior Ballet. I saw the first of two matinees that this time – contending with an international symposium on dance training held at the Academy almost simultaneously – primarily featured the Junior Company. Ivan Liška, former artistic director of the Bavarian State Ballet and current AD of the Junior Company (since its founding in 2010), moderated the program.

3. Students of the Ballet Academy of the University of Music and Performing Arts, “Exercices” by J.Broeckx et al, Heinz Bosl Foundation 2022 © M.-L.Briane2. Students of the Ballet Academy of the University of Music and Performing Arts, “Exercices” by J.Broeckx et al, Heinz Bosl Foundation 2022 © M.-L.BrianeSeventy students from the Academy went first, presenting exercises in line with the level of their education. As I have in many other school performances, I expected to see these aspiring dancers proudly showing off their skills to family and friends. In Munich, however, the dancers (especially the younger ones) seemed tense rather than joyful. I can only guess at why – perhaps a lack of preparation time or first-time stage fright. Overall, the limited scope presented in the half hour-or-so allocated to the Academy renders a judgment about its work unfair.

4. Students of the Ballet Academy of the University of Music and Performing Arts, “Exercices” by J.Broeckx et al, Heinz Bosl Foundation 2022 © M.-L.BrianeBalanchine’s “Allegro Brillante” has been performed regularly by the Junior Company for many years. Liška has deemed the piece an ideal one for learning everything a dancer needs to learn. His current generation of juniors is midway through this process. They performed cheerfully, carried by physical power and breezy spark – though Balanchine’s swift pace posed a considerable challenge to the limits of their classical technique. Where was the connection between arms and legs? Where was the inner focus and calm? I missed clear lines, grace, and togetherness. I also missed a sense of unity among the four couples that framed the leading pair (Lorien Ramo Ruiz and Maxine Morales). This cast approached the choreography – which Balanchine’s leading ballerina Maria Tallchief characterized as “an expansive Russian romanticism” – athletically.
6. L.R.Ruiz and M.Morales, “Allegro Brillante” by G.Balanchine, Heinz Bosl Foundation 2022 © M.-L.Briane5. Bavarian Junior Ballet, “Allegro Brillante” by G.Balanchine, Heinz Bosl Foundation 2022 © M.-L.BrianeI’m not sure what kind of dance career these juniors have in mind, but if they intend to join a company with a classical repertoire, they’ve still got a ways to go.
They performed significantly better, though, in “Liebesbotschaften”, a contemporary choreography tailor-made by Liška, Norbert Graf, and Maged Mohamed to eight songs by Franz Schubert. Each of the small-scale scenes was expressive and fit the music’s (vaguely meditative) mood. In particular, the strong stage presence of Soren Sakadales caught my eye. His ability to project the energy of his movements out to the audience is quite impressive.

7. M.Morales and L.Massara, “Liebesbotschaften” by I.Liška, N.Graf, and M.Mohamed, Heinz Bosl Foundation 2022 © M.-L.BrianePerhaps Schubert’s pathos wasn’t to everybody’s taste – groups of audience members left hastily after “Liebesbotschaften” despite Liška’s announcement that the program was not yet finished. What remained: the premiere of “Bonbon”, a contemporary piece by Israeli choreographer Lior Tavori. Tavori had the dancers freeze in high octane poses before lining them up. The dancers walked in lockstep, hand-in-hand, creating fluidly-changing patterns. The remaining choreography went against the sweetness implied in the title (which I mostly saw represented by the candy coloring of some of Susanne Stehle’s costumes). This included dancers who crawled on all fours, hopped about, displayed aggressive machismo, shook girlishly, and provocatively gyrated their hips. The airy, narcissistic 9. Bavarian Junior Ballet, “Bonbon” by L.Tavori, Heinz Bosl Foundation 2022 © M.-L.Briane8. Bavarian Junior Ballet, “Bonbon” by L.Tavori, Heinz Bosl Foundation 2022 © M.-L.Brianecoolness that many of the dancers depicted was not appealing. From the list of seemingly must-have ingredients for trendy ballet, Tavori chose frenzied screaming, same-sex couples, blinding spotlights, and monotonously hammering rhythms. Rock bottom was reached when the dancers began to beat one another before flinging their arms and torsos around with little control. Kneeling on the floor with their heads bent back towards the audience, they shouted incoherent catchphrases (“love” – “share” – 10. Bavarian Junior Ballet, “Bonbon” by L.Tavori, Heinz Bosl Foundation 2022 © M.-L.Briane11. Bavarian Junior Ballet, “Bonbon” by L.Tavori, Heinz Bosl Foundation 2022 © M.-L.Briane“sensation” – …) that failed to reveal any deeper meaning.

The dancers and Tavori, thrusting a bouquet of flowers into the air as if it was a trophy, were showered with wild applause and stamping feet. Apparently Munich’s audience appreciates the direction towards which German dance culture is developing.
12. A.Marmus and ensemble, “Bonbon” by L.Tavori, Heinz Bosl Foundation 2022 © M.-L.Briane

Link: Website of the Heinz Bosl Foundation
Photos: 1. Students of the Ballet Academy of the University of Music and Performing Arts, “Exercices” by Jan Broeckx et al, Heinz Bosl Foundation 2022
2. Students of the Ballet Academy of the University of Music and Performing Arts, “Exercices” by Jan Broeckx et al, Heinz Bosl Foundation 2022
3. Students of the Ballet Academy of the University of Music and Performing Arts, “Exercices” by Jan Broeckx et al, Heinz Bosl Foundation 2022
4. Students of the Ballet Academy of the University of Music and Performing Arts, “Exercices” by Jan Broeckx et al, Heinz Bosl Foundation 2022
5. Bavarian Junior Ballet, “Allegro Brillante” by George Balanchine, Heinz Bosl Foundation 2022
6. Lorien Ramo Ruiz and Maxine Morales, “Allegro Brillante” by George Balanchine, Heinz Bosl Foundation 2022
7. Maxine Morales and Luca Massara, “Liebesbotschaften” by Ivan Liška, Norbert Graf, and Maged Mohamed, Heinz Bosl Foundation 2022
8. Bavarian Junior Ballet, “Bonbon” by Lior Tavori, Heinz Bosl Foundation 2022
9. Bavarian Junior Ballet, “Bonbon” by Lior Tavori, Heinz Bosl Foundation 2022
10. Bavarian Junior Ballet, “Bonbon” by Lior Tavori, Heinz Bosl Foundation 2022
11. Bavarian Junior Ballet, “Bonbon” by Lior Tavori, Heinz Bosl Foundation 2022
12. Auguste Marmus and ensemble, “Bonbon” by Lior Tavori, Heinz Bosl Foundation 2022
all photos © Marie-Laure Briane
Editing: Jake Stepansky

Jittery

“A Wilde Story”
State Ballet Hanover
Opera House Hanover
Hanover, Germany
November 20, 2022

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

1. M.Chelucci (The Art of Writing), “A Wilde Story” by M.Goecke, State Ballet Hanover 2022 © B.Stöß2. C.Francis-Martin (Oscar Wilde), “A Wilde Story” by M.Goecke, State Ballet Hanover 2022 © B.StößMarco Goecke recently added the German magazine tanz’s “Choreographer of 2021” award and the 2022 German Dance Prize to his collection. Last month, he presented a new ballet at the State Ballet Hanover, which he has helmed as artistic director since 2019. “A Wilde Story” plays with the life and work of Oscar Wilde. I was curious to see whether or not the story was, in fact, wild.

The evening opens not with Wilde, but with a bare-chested Michelangelo Chelucci, who jerks open and closes off his muscular torso, arms plowing through the air. His feet scurry zealously this way and that as he elegantly lifts his black, floor-length skirt. A glance at the program book reveals that Chelucci personifies the art of writing. Behind him, black-clad dancers hustle from one side of the stage to the other, comic figures in fast-forward, shaking their fists. Their steps stir up dust that gradually blurs our view of the grainy facade of a stately gray mansion (set and costumes by Marvin Ott). Though the pulsing rock of The Smashing Pumpkins’ “Tonight Tonight” suggests otherwise, we’re in Victorian England. “Believe in me,” they sing – but at whom does this line aim? (more…)

Refreshing

“Peer Gynt”
Maribor Slovene National Theatre
Forum Ludwigsburg
Ludwigsburg, Germany
November 11, 2022

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

1. M.Isailovic (Peer Gynt) and ensemble, “Peer Gynt” by E.Clug, Maribor Slovene National Theatre 2022 © SNG MariborEdward Clug, the artistic director of the Slovene National Theatre’s ballet company, is currently creating a new “Nutcracker” for the Stuttgart Ballet – but, in the meantime, his own Maribor company has joined him in nearby Ludwigsburg. This weekend, they toured the Ludwigsburg Forum with Clug’s 2015 take on Henrik Ibsen’s “Peer Gynt”.

Ibsen’s happy-go-lucky peasant’s son Peer is quite the ambiguous figure. It’s easy to dismiss him as a narcissistic slacker and gascon. He never misses a chance to womanize or to seek trouble as he gads about Norway’s mountains. The splendid future that he imagines in his fantasy fails to become a reality. The wealth that he gains abroad does not make him lucky at home. His dream of becoming a crowned king (or emperor?) materializes, but only as an inmate in a Cairo madhouse. Old and feeble, he returns home in an effort to save his own soul. Only in the very last moment does he realize that he would have been much better off staying with his early love, Solveig. But why are we sympathetic to Peer rather than disliking him? (more…)

Haunting

Artur Babajanyan, Arshak Ghalumyan, Arman Grigoryan, Vahe Martirosyan, Arsen Mehrabyan, Tigran Mikayelyan:
“Forceful Feelings”
118 pages, colored and b/w photos
confident Markenkommunikation Winterthur / Switzerland
October 2022

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

1. H.Spoerli, T.Mikayelyan, V.Martirosyan, A.Grigoryan, A.Mehrabyan, and guest dancers, Forceful Feelings, photo by courtesy of T.Mikayelyan © T.Mikayelyan“I can’t do this.”
Thus opens Forceful Feelings – a book by six Armenian-born dancers: Artur Babajanyan, Arshak Ghalumyan, Arman Grigoryan, Vahe Martirosyan, Arsen Mehrabyan, and Tigran Mikayelyan. This sentence heralded the disbanding of their company – the Forceful Feelings of the title – spelled out by their oldest member, Tigran. This was July of 2019, minutes before the curtain rose on a performance at the Pjazza Teatru Rjal in Malta. It was the last show Forceful Feelings would ever perform. The book, compiled by their mutual friend François Chappuis, assembles individual memories that trace back the paths that led to this finale.
The six boys, as they call each other, have a lot in common. Each of them was trained at the Yerevan National Ballet School and pursued a career in the West. Each of them struggled, some to the point of questioning whether a career in ballet was worth it at all. No one gave up. They were supported in their work by their close friendships (from boyhood) and the unvarying support and guidance provided by their parents. Artur’s father, for example, did not allow his son to quit after failing a few exams: “It’s okay to drop out. But not this way! Prove one thing before you quit: prove to them that you can dance. Don’t let them decide that. It’s not the circumstances that choose your fate – it’s you.” Artur took the challenge, throwing himself into the training – and it paid off. In 2003, he had already trained in Zurich. (more…)

Unpalatable

“The Sleeping Beauty”
Vienna State Ballet
Vienna State Opera
Vienna, Austria
October 24, 2022 (livestream)

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

1. J.Carroll (Catalabutte) and ensemble, “The Sleeping Beauty” by M.Schläpfer and M.Petipa, Vienna State Ballet 2022 © Vienna State Ballet / A.TaylorA few months before the premiere of his “Sleeping Beauty” with the Vienna State Ballet, artistic director Martin Schläpfer stated that he did not intend to alter Petipa’s original – that he was not creating something “a bit Schläpfer and a bit Petipa”. There are already enough of these blended works in the canon; instead of adding another, he preferred to stick with the original. Back then, though, he did not have a detailed vision for his production. So – how did his version finally turn out?

I’ll make one thing immediately clear: Schläpfer did not deliver a radically new take on the fairy tale. The three-acter still unfolds at court, includes the key characters, and follows the well-known storyline. Florian Etti’s modern and unsophisticated set includes an open yard looking out on a king-sized garden of red roses. Nestled among the twigs is the crib of the newborn Aurora, her birth an airy dream. (more…)

Galvanizing

“Romeo and Juliet”
The Australian Ballet
Arts Centre Melbourne / State Theatre
Melbourne, Australia
October 18, 2022 (livestream)

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

 1. A.Harris (Lady Capulet) and S.Spencer (Juliet), “Romeo and Juliet” by J.Cranko, The Australian Ballet 2022 © J.BusbyEach of the three livestreams I’ve watched from the Australian Ballet so far have proven that the company’s standards are high. The most recent – John Cranko’s “Romeo and Juliet” – left me flabbergasted. I’ve seen Cranko’s 1962 version a few times, since Stuttgart Ballet (where the largest part of his oeuvre was created) regularly revives the star-crossed lovers’ tragedy. It’s a pillar of their repertoire. But compared to the work that the Australian Ballet delivered in Melbourne, Stuttgart’s performances pale. From the first moment that the first maid set foot in Verona’s marketplace, it was clear that the Australian Ballet was performing on an entirely different level.

Artistic director David Hallberg, who co-hosted the livestream together with Catherine Murphy, was correct in noting that “we look good on screens all over the world tonight”. Dance, set, costumes, lighting – everything was perfect. (more…)

Sensitive

“North Korea Dance”
Eun-Me Ahn Company
Forum Ludwigsburg
Ludwigsburg, Germany
October 15, 2022

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

1. Ensemble, “North Korea Dance” by E.-M.Ahn, Eun-Me Ahn Company 2022 © J.-M.ChabotLast season, Eun-Me Ahn Company’s visit to Ludwigsburg fell victim to COVID-19. This October, the South Korean troupe made up for the cancelation by offering two performances of “North Korea Dance” at the Forum Ludwigsburg.
The Seoul-born Eun-Me Ahn studied dance in her home country and in New York. After returning home, she took the reins at the Daegu City Dance Company, Korea’s first national contemporary dance ensemble. In 1988, Ahn founded the Eun-Me Ahn Company, which has been a regular guest on western stages.
Little is known about dance in North Korea. To change this and to explore the common roots of North and South Korean dance, Ahn consulted the internet. Based on the dance videos from North Korea available online, she created her own interpretation of the neighboring country’s dance culture. The final product: a ninety-minute revue-like journey through time. (more…)

Unwieldy

“Cri de cœur”
Paris Opera Ballet
Palais Garnier
Paris, France
October 01, 2022 (matinee)

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

1. M.Barbeau, “Cri de cœur” by A.L.Øyen, Paris Opera Ballet 2022 © A.PoupeneyAlan Lucien Øyen: not a particularly familiar name to dance audiences outside of his home country of Norway – but his new creation “Cri de cœur” (“Cry of the Heart”) for the Paris Opera Ballet will soon change that.
Øyen grew up in Bergen, where he was introduced to the theater at the young age of seven. He received his dance training at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts and subsequently joined contemporary ensembles in Norway and Cologne. In 2004, Øyen turned to choreography; two years later, he founded Winter Guests, an interdisciplinary touring company. I missed his 2018 “Bon Voyage, Bob” at the Tanztheather Wuppertal and was curious to finally learn about his work in Paris.

To start, dance is not the most important ingredient of “Cri de cœur”. Acting, singing, and film are all featured – and, in particular, there is a great deal of spoken text in French written by Øyen and Andrew Wale. That’s a major difference from the dance theater of Pina Bausch, in whose footsteps Øyen is said to follow. (more…)

Borrowed Dreams

“Nachtträume”
Ballet Zurich
Opernhaus Zurich
Zurich, Switzerland
September 30, 2022

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

1. Ensemble, “Nachtträume” by M.Morau, Ballet Zurich 2022 © G.BatardonWhile many companies revive earlier ballets to warm up for a new season, the Ballet Zurich offered a premiere right away. The new one-act piece – “Nachtträume” – is Marcos Morau’s first creation for the company. The Spanish-born Morau has never danced professionally, but studied choreography, photography, dramaturgy and theory of the drama and runs the Barcelona-based company “La Veronal”.

Hidden desires, dark fantasies, and – above all – themes of power and subordination make up the fabric of Morau’s gloomy dreams. His point of reference is Kurt Jooss’s “The Green Table”, a piece from 1932 that depicts ten diplomats bargaining about peace and war. It is a timely choice. Like Jooss, Morau uses a table – but his is round, much larger, and able to rotate, allowing for huge meetings. However, the office workers that tentatively crawl out from under the table are not string-pullers but underlings. (more…)

Happy Eightieth!

“Egon Madsen 80”
Theaterhaus Stuttgart
Stuttgart, Germany
September 28, 2022

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

1. E.Madsen, “Egon Madsen 80”, Theaterhaus Stuttgart 2022 © J.BakEgon Madsen has been a foundational figure in Stuttgart’s ballet and theater world for close to his entire career. He gave his stage debut at the young age of ten in a children’s ballet in his home country of Denmark. Nine years later (in 1961) he joined the Stuttgart Ballet under the newly appointed John Cranko. Key roles in Cranko’s signature pieces were choreographed on Madsen during a period dubbed the “Stuttgart Ballet Miracle”. After Cranko’s death, Madsen stayed with the Stuttgart Ballet until 1981. In the years that followed, he helmed several companies (the Frankfurt Ballet, the Royal Swedish Ballet, and the Ballet of the Teatro Communale/Florence) before becoming Marcia Haydée’s assistant director at Stuttgart and serving as ballet master in Stuttgart and Leipzig. In 1999 – at age fifty-seven – he returned to the stage with Nederlands Dans Theater’s NDT III. He also served as the troupe’s teacher and rehearsal director until it disbanded in 2006. One year later, Madsen returned to Stuttgart as a driving force behind Eric Gauthier’s newly established Gauthier Dance Company at the Theaterhaus. In addition to dancing in numerous Theaterhaus productions (most recently “Greyhounds” in 2015), Madsen also coached and trained the dancers. Since 2014, he has forayed into play-acting; his solo evening “King Lear”, choreographed by Mauro Bigonzetti, can be seen at the Theaterhaus for a final time this November. (more…)

After All

“Giselle”
State Ballet Berlin
Staatsoper unter den Linden
Berlin, Germany
September 18, 2022

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

1. K.Ovsyanick (Giselle), D.Motta Soares (Duke Albrecht), and ensemble, “Giselle” by P.Bart after J.Coralli and J.Perrot, State Ballet Berlin 2022 © M.KulchytskaDavid Motta Soares honed his artistic skills under the watchful eyes of the teachers at the Bolshoi Ballet. This spring, he joined the State Ballet Berlin as a principal dancer, and in June he gave his debut as Prince Désiré in Marcia Haydée’s “The Sleeping Beauty” alongside Ksenia Ovsyanick’s Princess Aurora. Last Sunday, the two again shared the stage as the leading couple in Patrice Bart’s rendition of “Giselle”. How did they fare?
Albrecht and Giselle’s romance, unfolding under the warm autumn sun shining on mother Berthe’s quaint cottage yard (set and costumes by Peter Farmer), was not as sweet as expected. In Moscow, Motta Soares had danced Albrecht in Yuri Grigorovich’s “Giselle”. Bart’s version was new for him and his Albrecht here – cocksure and confident – flitted between gentle wooing and impatient attempts at taking. In certain moments he stood with his arms crossed, signaling reserve. After two botched tours en l’air, Motta Soares seemed slightly unsettled. Though he made a decent showing by the end of his second solo (Pas de vendanges), its piecemeal choreography – involving a great deal of jumping back and forth, as if drunk on infatuation and indecisive about which direction to move – offered little chance to shine. (more…)

Kylián Samples

“Bridges of Time”
Czech National Ballet
The National Theatre
Prague, Czech Republic
September 03, 2022

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

1. R.Cuadrado, L.Balogová, and A.Petit, ”Bella Figura” by J.Kylián, Czech National Ballet 2022 © S.Gherciu Theaters in the crisis-ridden EU face difficult times as soaring maintenance costs join the ever-present fear of declining ticket sales. Last Saturday, though, matters seemed to be in order at Prague’s National Theatre. Despite the approximately 70.000 protesters who hit the streets of Prague in the afternoon to demonstrate against skyrocketing energy prices and inflation, the evening performance of the all-Jiří Kylián bill “Bridges of Time” was well-attended – and well-received.

Typically, most theaters pick the same, better known titles from Kylián’s massive (over one-hundred-piece-strong) oeuvre. The Czech National Ballet’s artistic director Filip Barankiewicz did the same in 2018 when assembling a tribute program to the Czech-born Kylián on the centenary of the Czechoslovak Declaration of Independence. (more…)

Stirring the Imagination

“Paper Story”
Laterna magika
The New Stage
Prague, Czech Republic
September 03, 2022

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

1. M.Petrák (Boy), “Paper Story” by R.Vizváry and M.Ramba, Laterna magika 2022 © P.BoreckýLaterna magika’s 2021 “Paper Story” is a winner with young audiences. One young nipper, curious about the stage set – a halfway-unrolled reel of white paper – escaped the watchful eyes of his mother and triumphantly ran across the stage before the performance. The bored boy (Matěj Petrák) was pelted with laughter and sneering when it became clear that he had discovered that the paper reel had a life of its own. The reel escaped his headlong dives, pulling him here and there, flying magically, ambushing him, mocking him constantly, and even folding around his head into a Napoleon-esque hat. The wad of paper that Petrák throws into the distance doesn’t end the magic, but instead opens the doors to a fantasy world made entirely from white paper. (more…)

Ill-chosen

“Notre-Dame de Paris”
Ballet of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma
Terme di Caracalla
Rome, Italy
August 03, 2022

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

1. Ensemble, “Notre-Dame de Paris” by R.Petit, Ballet of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma 2022 © F.Sansoni / Teatro dell’Opera di RomaThe Teatro dell’Opera di Roma is in the enviable position of being able to relocate their performances to impressive antique open-air venues during the warm months. While the 2021 summer performances took place at the Circus Maximus, this year the company returned to its traditional stage at the Baths of Caracalla. I watched the final performance of Roland Petit’s “Notre-Dame de Paris”, based on Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”.

The ballet tells the tale of the disabled Quasimodo (bell-ringer of Notre Dame in late medieval Paris), his master Claude Frollo (Notre Dame’s archdeacon), Esmeralda (a beautiful Romani woman), and Captain Phoebus (Esmeralda’s lover). In a departure from Tikhomirov & Burmeister’s take on the story for the Stanislavsky Ballet (their “La Esmeralda”), Petit stripped down the original plot to its nuts and bolts. (more…)

Unwilling (but actually eager)

“The Taming of the Shrew”
Les Ballets de Monte Carlo
Forum Ludwigsburg
Ludwigsburg, Germany
July 23, 2022

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

1. A.Tognoloni (Katherine) and F.Mariottini (Petruchio), “The Taming of the Shrew” by J.-C.Maillot, Les Ballets de Monte Carlo 2022 © A.BlangeroThe gender dynamics depicted by Shakespeare in “The Taming of the Shrew” render it one of his most controversial plays. Staging it risks setting off a litany of accusations. Some deem the comedy to be misogynistic, chauvinistic, and sexist. Nevertheless, Jean-Christophe Maillot found the guts to choreograph a new adaption for the Bolshoi Ballet in 2014 that has become hugely popular. In 2017, he modified it for his own company – Les Ballets de Monte Carlo. Last weekend, the troupe performed the piece on tour in Ludwigsburg.

Following the lead of earlier choreographers of the work, Maillot omitted Shakespeare’s frame story (the drunken tinker Christopher Sly is fooled into experiencing a make-believe world). The frame story allows the central story (about Baptista’s struggle to marry his two daughters – the much-courted Bianca and the wayward Katherine) (more…)