European Companies

Trashy

“Triple”
Richard Siegal – Ballet of Difference
Forum Ludwigsburg
Ludwigsburg, Germany
January 21, 2023

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2023 by Ilona Landgraf

 1. E.Supple and M.Manning, “All For One” by R.Siegal, Richard Siegal – Ballet of Difference 2023 © T.Schermer Last weekend, the Cologne-based troupe Richard Siegal – Ballet of Difference toured the Forum Ludwigsburg. The American-born Siegal founded the company in 2016 in Munich. He also serves as its artistic director and has choreographed nearly all of their repertoire. The triple bill in Ludwigsburg combined twenty-or-so minute-long pieces created between 2014 – 2021.

In a recent interview, Siegal revealed that “All For One” is a “reaction to the modes of digital spectatorship that emerged during the beginning of the pandemic.” The piece premiered online in fall 2021 with a set (an organ made from tall tubes of light arranged in a cylindrical semicircle) designed, perhaps, to appeal to an online audience. In Ludwigsburg, the murky illumination often hid the eleven dancers in twilight that obscured their pants, skirts, and bustiers (decorated with bulky silver folds that resembled supersized shreds of paper).
3. M.Manning, L.Zou, and C.Sorzano; “All For One” by R.Siegal, Richard Siegal – Ballet of Difference 2023 © T.Schermer2. E.Supple, “All For One” by R.Siegal, Richard Siegal – Ballet of Difference 2023 © T.SchermerSome men sported black, silver-rimmed briefs and erotic leather bondage gear. By my count, Markus Popp provided five pieces of techno music. The first flooded the stage with a deafening torrent of squeaks and hisses; the second’s repetitive percussion hammered my ear drums; number three reminded me of a slot machine going into hyperdrive. The rattling noise of the fourth made me wonder about the impact that dissonant decibels might have on the nervous system. It must be devastating – and, fittingly, the final composition sounded like a hangover.
The dancers, in an attempt at looking snappy, sexy, and cool, kick their legs and jump and strut between the light tubes. Ultimately, though, they faded against the cacophony of light and music, and I failed to discern any connection between the rhythms and the dance.

4. L.Zou, E.Supple, and ensemble; “Metric Dozen” by R.Siegal, Richard Siegal – Ballet of Difference 2023 © T.Schermer5. N.Martinéz and J.R.Dean, “Metric Dozen” by R.Siegal, Richard Siegal – Ballet of Difference 2023 © T.SchermerThe single bang that started off “Metric Dozen” (2014) came like a shock. Suddenly, the auditorium was pitch-black. Sharp spotlights opened on the dancers as they posed or stepped about.
The piece employs a metric dozen dancers – ten! – decked out by Alexandra Bertaut in white socks, black briefs, and black long-sleeved tops embellished with glitzy two-toned sequins. Accompanied by a nervous electronic pulsing (music by Lorenzo Bianchi Hoesch) that later crescendoed into car-crash-like clangor (I hoped for a subsequent moment of silence – to no avail), the dancers step backwards and forwards as if bound to an invisible rectangular grid. They thrust their hips suggestively, 7. M.Manning, N.Martinéz, M.Chavez, M.Vomastek, and E.Supple; “Metric Dozen” by R.Siegal, Richard Siegal – Ballet of Difference 2023 © T.Schermer 6. N.Martinéz and ensemble, “Metric Dozen” by R.Siegal, Richard Siegal – Ballet of Difference 2023 © T.Schermersway their bottoms, and athletically kick their legs. Arms swing through the air until locked in edgy angles. Some of the dancers wait in the half-dark watching an erotic pas de deux before marching across the stage. Whether treading in place, scuttling to and fro, or undulating their torsos like snakes, their movements appear mechanical and meaningless. As the atmosphere turns to a sullen red-light milieu, a woman forces sex from a man on the sidelines.
Lighting designer Gilles Gentner finally pulls the plug, switching the light abruptly off.

8. L.Gil, N.Martinez, and C.Sorzano; “My Generation” by R.Siegal, Richard Siegal – Ballet of Difference 2023 © T.Schermer9. I.Sanford, E.Supple, S.Lammer, N.Martinéz, and M.Vomastek; “My Generation” by R.Siegal, Richard Siegal – Ballet of Difference 2023 © T.SchermerJust like the previous pieces, “My Generation” starts with sudden music and eye-catching lighting – this time a catwalk made of light. The music is by Uwe Schmidt (AtomTM) assembled from electronically distorted pop songs and Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream…”. The twelve dancers living out this dream wore colorful sporting tricots (including the tricot of Kazakhstan’s Astana club). Costume designer Bernhard Wilhelm also sewed shorts from the tricots – though his design was so baggy that the dancers looked to be wearing diapers. That did nothing to stem their athletic bragging, though.
11. C.Sorzano and Evan Supple, “My Generation” by R.Siegal, Richard Siegal – Ballet of Difference 2023 © T.Schermer 10. M.Manning, “My Generation” by R,Siegal, Richard Siegal – Ballet of Difference 2023 © T.SchermerOnce again we’re presented with a succession of acrobatic leg kicks, brawny leaps, and stilted poses. Pelvises thrust like rubbery battering rams; arms punch the air, and ecstasy lights a fire under their mechanical routines. The lighting is garishly green and yellow, and later fluorescent blue – cheap entertainment, but who cares? Let’s run free! Let’s have fun!
The sole highlight was a karaoke solo by Nicolás Martínez, who whizzed across the stage in a musical (and sexual) frenzy. Siegal would have done best to end “My Generation” here, but it dragged on with an uninspired group routine accompanied by the monotonous singsong “Ich bin meine Maschine” (“I am my machine”). That idea, it seems, is a good summary of his understanding of the art form.
12. C.Sorzano, I.Sanford, and M.Manning; “My Generation” by R.Siegal, Richard Siegal – Ballet of Difference 2023 © T.Schermer

Links: Website of Richard Siegal – Ballet of Difference
“Triple” (Teaser)
Photos: Some photos show a different cast from an earlier performance.
1. Evan Supple and Mason Manning, “All For One” by Richard Siegal, Richard Siegal – Ballet of Difference 2023
2. Evan Supple, All For One” by Richard Siegal, Richard Siegal – Ballet of Difference 2023
3. Mason Manning, Long Zou, Clara Sorzano; All For One” by Richard Siegal, Richard Siegal – Ballet of Difference 2023
4. Long Zou, Evan Supple, and ensemble; “Metric Dozen” by Richard Siegal, Richard Siegal – Ballet of Difference 2023
5. Nicolás Martinéz and Jemima Rose Dean, “Metric Dozen” by Richard Siegal, Richard Siegal – Ballet of Difference 2023
6. Nicolás Martinéz and ensemble, “Metric Dozen” by Richard Siegal, Richard Siegal – Ballet of Difference 2023
7. Mason Manning, Nicolás Martinéz, Martina Chavez, Madison Vomastek, and Evan Supple; “Metric Dozen” by Richard Siegal, Richard Siegal – Ballet of Difference 2023
8. Livia Gil, Nicolas Martinez, and Clara Sorzano; “My Generation” by Richard Siegal, Richard Siegal – Ballet of Difference 2023
9. Ian Sanford, Evan Supple, Sean Lammer, Nicolás Martinéz, and Madison Vomastek; “My Generation” by Richard Siegal, Richard Siegal – Ballet of Difference 2023
10. Mason Manning, “My Generation” by Richard Siegal, Richard Siegal – Ballet of Difference 2023
11. Clara Sorzano and Evan Supple, “My Generation” by Richard Siegal, Richard Siegal – Ballet of Difference 2023
12. Clara Sorzano, Ian Sanford, and Mason Manning; “My Generation” by Richard Siegal, Richard Siegal – Ballet of Difference 2023
all photos © Thomas Schermer
Editing: Jake Stepansky

Neumeier’s Call for Peace

“Dona Nobis Pacem”
Hamburg Ballet – John Neumeier
Hamburg State Opera
Hamburg, Germany
January 05, 2023

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2023 by Ilona Landgraf

 1. A.Martínez (He) and L.Giesenberg (Photographer), “Dona Nobis Pacem” by J.Neumeier, Hamburg Ballet 2023 © K.West John Neumeier’s latest choreography for the Hamburg Ballet, “Dona Nobis Pacem” (“Give Us Peace”), is meant to be the crown jewel of his fiftieth season as artistic director of the company. The eighty-three-year-old Neumeier had originally intended to resign in July 2023, but chose to extend his contract for another year in order to ensure the smooth transition of his named successor Demis Volpi, currently the artistic director of the Ballett am Rhein. There are one and a half long years until then – and perhaps Neumeier will renounce his statement that “Dona Nobis Pacem” is to be his last new creation. (more…)

Enchanting

“The Nutcracker”
Hungarian National Ballet / Hungarian National Ballet Institute
Hungarian State Opera
Budapest, Hungary
December 10, 2022 (matinee + evening performance)

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

1. Ensemble, “The Nutcracker” by W.Eagling and T.Solymosi, Hungarian National Ballet & Hungarian National Ballet Institute 2022 © V.Berecz The Dutch National Ballet has in its repertoire a gorgeous “Nutcracker and the Mouse King” by Wayne Eagling (featuring no less beautiful designs by Toer van Schayk), which premiered in 1996. It seems that from that moment on, Eagling has been spellbound by the “Nutcracker”. The version he created in 2015 – tailored to the Hungarian National Ballet – is his fifth take on the fairy-tale. For Budapest’s “Nutcracker” he collaborated with the company’s artistic director, Tamás Solymosi. I saw a matinee and an evening performance.

From the moment I noticed the cupcakes and Gugelhupf on the Stahlbaum family’s Christmas buffet, I knew that Eagling and Solymosi’s production would be just so: a treat based on a traditional recipe but refined with local additions and updated techniques. The original recipe by Vasili Vainonen is from 1934 – and his “Nutcracker” premiered in Budapest in 1950 to great acclaim. (more…)

Encompassing

“Romeo and Juliet”
Croatian National Theatre Ivan pl. Zajc Rijeka
Forum Ludwigsburg
Ludwigsburg, Germany
December 03, 2022

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

1. M.Matarranz de las Heras (Juliet), M.Pastorini (Romeo), A.Salle (Tybalt), and V.Chou (Mercutio), "Romeo and Juliet" by J.Bubeníček, Croatian National Theatre Ivan pl. Zajc Rijeka 2022 © F.Tutek-Hajnal This season, the Forum Ludwigsburg has attracted an audience by offering an alluring variety of dance. Two weeks ago, it welcomed the Maribor Slovene National Theatre. This weekend, the Croatian National Theatre presented Jiří Bubeníček’s “Romeo and Juliet”, which premiered this April at the company’s home base in Rijeka.

While the quarrelsome Capulets and Montagues vociferously bumped heads in Verona’s marketplace, I thought back to a performance in which Bubeníček himself danced Romeo. Back in 2014, the Belgian Stijn Celis choreographed “Romeo and Juliet” for the Semperoper Ballet, tailoring the leading role to Bubeníček. The ballet was meant to be a feature for the company’s most prominent male dancer, but turned out to be disappointingly banal. Michele Pastorini’s performance as the title’s hero of Ludwigsburg felt like a depiction of how Bubeníček might have wished to dance the role himself. (more…)

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…)

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…)

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…)