Tag Archive: Goyo Montero

To Be Trimmed

“Naharin / Clug / Montero”
Ballet of the State Theater Nuremberg
State Theater
Nuremberg, Germany
May 14, 2022

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

1. Ensemble, “Submerge” by G.Montero, Ballet of the State Theater Nuremberg 2022 © J.VallinasThe new triple bill from the State Theater Nuremberg’s ballet company combines three established names: Edward Clug, Ohad Naharin, and the company’s artistic director Goyo Montero. Each contributed a piece from their collection.

Montero re-worked his “Submerge” for Nuremberg – enlarging it from its original eleven dancers (from Zurich’s 2018 Junior Ballet) to a 19-strong ensemble. Barely discernable in the foggy gloom, they wait motionless at the rear of the stage, their eyes fixed on something in the distance. Together they walk forward, staring into the bright glow of the pit, at once an attraction and terror. Simultaneously, they step into the light, as if crossing into a moment of courage. For those in the audience who haven’t consulted the program booklet in advance, the next scene (in which the dancers undulate their limbs like gently floating seaweed) reveals the subject of this piece: deep-sea diving. A scuba diving course in 2018 served as Montero’s source of inspiration.

4. E.Nunes, S.Vervaecke, L.Axel, and ensemble, “Submerge” by G.Montero, Ballet of the State Theater Nuremberg 2022 © J.Vallinas3. Ensemble, “Submerge” by G.Montero, Ballet of the State Theater Nuremberg 2022 © J.Vallinas2. E.Nunes, “Submerge” by G.Montero, Ballet of the State Theater Nuremberg 2022 © J.VallinasTo Owen Belton’s sound collage – made from marine burble and creaks, drifting electronic sound, menacingly hammering, and rattling reminiscent of clicking joints – we watch groups of dancers explore imaginary underwater depths, moving in sync or with a lag. Lines intertwine or swell in waves; bodies reverberate along with the thumping percussion or copy the robot-like movements of a leading dancer. Anxiously hunched shoulders, crouched torsos, and trembling hands alternate with moments of resolution and dynamicness. Beams of light carve out space for pas de deux and pas de trois, but Martin Gebhardt’s sophisticated lighting (especially the light shafts) must be treated with caution. They might signal a possible rescue, but they are also places of peril. After a sudden (post-catastrophe?) mood swing, the movement dies down. One after another, the dancers strip off their gray blue neoprene diving suits, lying on their backs as if drowned. One woman, though, is slowly lifted and carried backwards by a man, ultimately hanging in the air like Jesus on the cross. A single man rises from the ground to follow her.

5. L.Axel, N.Alcazár, and S.Vervaecke, “Handman” by E.Clug, Ballet of the State Theater Nuremberg 2022 © J.Vallinas6. E.Nunes and S.-L.Chapman, “Handman” by E.Clug, Ballet of the State Theater Nuremberg 2022 © J.VallinasScattered across the stage, Clug’s nine dancers also stand motionless in the first seconds of “Handman” (2016). Unlocked by the smash and roll of a drum (music by Milko Lazar and Justin Hurwitz & Tim Simonec), the dancers dance the funky chicken, turn in place, stride forward, and shift their weight slowly from left to right. Their arms bend and twist, transform into crippled swan wings and beaks. Their hands clasp behind their necks and frame their heads on either side. The work points satirically again and again at “Swan Lake”, but the supposed swan prince scurries away quickly, intimidated. Due in part (but not exclusively) to the choice in costuming – night-blue pants and skin-colored, red-rimmed tops – the first part of “Handman” is mostly reminiscent of a (only moderately successful) persiflage of Marco Goecke’s handwriting.
8. L.Axel, C.Ide, J.Toscano, and N.Alcazár, “Handman” by E.Clug, Ballet of the State Theater Nuremberg 2022 © J.Vallinas7. S.Vervaecke, “Handman” by E.Clug, Ballet of the State Theater Nuremberg 2022 © J.VallinasClug plays with tempo and gravity, and the way he emphasizes aspects of a movement amuse and surprise. He has created beautiful moments of calm – for example, a circle of dancers lying prone, their arms and legs stretched upwards like petals. Other sequences would benefit from pruning.

Most of all, though, I struggled with Clug’s choice to depict relationships that are aggressive and grossly manipulative. I found these portrayals disgusting to watch – largely because they are presented without context or critique (choreographically or otherwise). I simply cannot applaud the presentation of such unpleasant scenes. For example, in one pas de deux, the woman is forcefully pushed into obedience by a man; she lays broken on the floor, unheeded by the offender who walks nonchalantly away. A gruff all-male duet finishes, by comparison, humorously when one man – the title’s hand man – snaps at his partner’s wagging hand is if it were prey. Despite wriggling and remonstrating, his catch is carried off into the wings.

9. Ensemble, “Secus” by O.Naharin, Ballet of the State Theater Nuremberg 2022 © J.Vallinas10. K.Gee and V.Ketelslegers, “Secus” by O.Naharin, Ballet of the State Theater Nuremberg 2022 © J.VallinasAs the curtain rises on Naharin’s “Secus” (2005), its seventeen dancers stand scattered across the stage, motionless yet again, unaffected by the blaring noise engineered by sound designer Ohad Fishof. Only when the turntable appears to become stuck do they casually set off for busy solos and group dances. The hodgepodge of movements that unfolds all over the stage includes vigorous hopping, jumping, splits, frozen yoga poses, pitter-pattering feet, hyper-flexible 11. A.Tavares and ensemble, “Secus” by O.Naharin, Ballet of the State Theater Nuremberg 2022 © J.Vallinasacrobatics, deep lunges, and somersaults. In moments I can only describe as stunningly abrupt, some of the protagonists stop their bustling and walk casually offstage (perhaps wondering – like myself – why they would continue to toil). Rattling electronic noise turns into slow tinkling, corny pop songs, and soothing silence. While the dancers hunker down in a seated position, two men explore their romance in a tango that soon slips into athletic horseplay. One after another, the dancers lift their t-shirts and tank tops to expose their naked rib-cages to the audience. Standing at the front of the stage, the dancers present their palms, beat their bellies, slap their foreheads, and collapse to the ground. Momentum returns in a final succession of brisk solos (three at once) that seemed to comprise the best each dancer has to offer.
12. V.Ketelslegers and ensemble, “Secus” by O.Naharin, Ballet of the State Theater Nuremberg 2022 © J.Vallinas

Links: Website of the State Theater Nuremberg
Photos: 1. Ensemble, “Submerge” by Goyo Montero, Ballet of the State Theater Nuremberg 2022
2. Edward Nunes, “Submerge” by Goyo Montero, Ballet of the State Theater Nuremberg 2022
3. Ensemble, “Submerge” by Goyo Montero, Ballet of the State Theater Nuremberg 2022
4. Edward Nunes, Sofia Vervaecke, Lucas Axel, and ensemble, “Submerge” by Goyo Montero, Ballet of the State Theater Nuremberg 2022
5. Lucas Axel, Nicolás Alcazár, and Sofie Vervaecke, “Handman” by Edward Clug, Ballet of the State Theater Nuremberg 2022
6. Edward Nunes and Sarah-Lee Chapman, “Handman” by Edward Clug, Ballet of the State Theater Nuremberg 2022
7. Sofia Vervaecke, “Handman” by Edward Clug, Ballet of the State Theater Nuremberg 2022
8. Lucas Axel, Chisato Ide, Juliano Toscano, and Nicolás Alcazár, “Handman” by Edward Clug, Ballet of the State Theater Nuremberg 2022
9. Ensemble, “Secus” by Ohad Naharin, Ballet of the State Theater Nuremberg 2022
10. Kate Gee and Victor Ketelslegers, “Secus” by Ohad Naharin, Ballet of the State Theater Nuremberg 2022
11. Ana Tavares and ensemble, “Secus” by Ohad Naharin, Ballet of the State Theater Nuremberg 2022
12. Victor Ketelslegers and ensemble, “Secus” by Ohad Naharin, Ballet of the State Theater Nuremberg 2022
all photos © Jesús Vallinas
Editing: Jake Stepansky

Overdone

“Narrenschiff” (Ship of Fools)
Ballet of the State Theater Nuremberg
State Theater
Nuremberg, Germany
April 10, 2022

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

1. Ensemble, “Maria” by G.Montero, Ballet of the State Theater Nuremberg 2022 © J.Vallinas“Narrenschiff” (Ship of Fools), the first premiere of the season for the State Theater Nuremberg, is a double bill choreographed by the company’s artistic director Goyo Montero. It is comprised of two ensemble pieces: “Maria”, a ballad about the bible’s Maria Magdalena co-produced with the Diana Vishneva Foundation, St. Petersburg (Vishneva danced the leading role at the premiere in December; the photos below show her), and “Narrenschiff”, which gave the program its title. I saw the – for now – final performance. (more…)

Blabla Or Food For Thought?

“Blitirí”
Ballet of the State Theater Nuremberg
State Theater
Nuremberg, Germany
July 25, 2021 (online)

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2021 by Ilona Landgraf

1. E.Nunes, O.Alonso, S.Vervaecke, C.Blanco, V.Ketelslegers, A.Fernández, A.Tavares, J.Toscano, and S.Tozzi, “Blitirí” by G.Montero, Ballet of the State Theater Nuremberg 2021 © J.VallinasBlitirí is a term used in medieval time for something that has no meaning,” explains Goyo Montero, choreographer and artistic director of the State Theater Nuremberg’s ballet ensemble. He compares the word to jovial “blabla”. Indeed, his new choreography for “Blitirí” revolves around joy – at least, almost entirely.
Though originally planned as a solely digital project, the 25-minute piece premiered on July 10th to a live audience at Nuremberg’s State Theater as part of the triple bill “Goecke / Godani / Montero”. A few weeks later, Stefan Kleeberger and Montero realized the initial plan by releasing a filmed version that is available on the company’s YouTube channel. (more…)

Impressive!

“Ballet Matinée”
John Cranko School
Stuttgart State Opera
Stuttgart, Germany
July 16, 2017

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2017 by Ilona Landgraf

1. A.Pernão and S.Pompignoli, “Alrededor No Hay Nada” by G.Montero, John Cranko School © Stuttgart Ballet Stuttgart’s John Cranko School has an excellent reputation in the ballet world. In a recent interview, Dutch National Ballet’s Marijn Rademaker talked about the excellent teachers in Stuttgart. I saw quite a few end of the year school performances, but this year’s matinée made me shake my head in disbelief. What outstanding talents has Tadeusz Matacz been training under his roof!

The students’ performance of Leonid Lavrovsky’s “Classical Symphony” could have vied with proper companies. The boys jumped spick and span, landed from tour en l’airs nicely in sync and partnered smoothly. Short Motomi Kiyota of the 6th class was especially intriguing. He soared through the air as if it were his natural space of being. The girls dabbed the choreography onstage, defying weight and gravity and confidently tossed out fouettes. “Classical Symphony” left one with an elevated feeling.

They proved they can also excel in contemporary pieces in “Alrededor No Hay Nada”, new choreography by Goyo Montero, artistic director of the company of the State Theater Nuremberg. (more…)

An Ordeal

“Don Quixote”
Ballet of the State Theater Nuremberg
State Theater
Nuremberg, Germany
April 28, 2017

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2017 by Ilona Landgraf

1. N.Sasaki, R.Scott and ensemble, “Don Quixote” by G.Montero, Ballet of the State Theater Nuremberg 2017 © J.Vallinas“Don Quixote” is best associated with the showy dancing of snappy youth, lighthearted joie de vivre and air sizzling with eroticism. The Ballet of the State Theater Nuremberg’s new “Don Quixote” offers the opposite. Goyo Montero, artistic director of the company of around twenty dancers, boiled down the traditional three acts to a single one lasting 90 minutes. According to the program booklet, the production begins in a mental institution, a prison or a refugee camp. Given the huge gunny sacks serving as seats, buffers or protective wall (set design by Eva Adler and Montero), the scruffy gray and brown costumes and the simple bag-like headdresses credited to Angelo Alberto and Montero, I thought of mill hands kept in arrest. But regardless of the place one imagines the figures inhabiting it are insane. (more…)

A Well Assembled Spectrum

“2. International Ballet Gala”
Ballet of the State Theater Nuremberg
State Theater
Nuremberg, Germany
March 20, 2015

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2015 by Ilona Landgraf

1. J.Vallejo, “Canon in D Major” by J.Bubeníček, “2.International Ballet Gala”, Ballet of the State Theater Nuremberg © B.Stöß 2015Goyo Montero is in his seventh season as artistic director of the State Theater Nuremberg’s ballet. Since then the Spaniard has established the troupe’s reputation – nationally as well as internationally. Last weekend’s ballet gala – the second since Montero took over the reins – gave ample proof that dance prospers in Middle Franconia’s largest city.
Montero, son of a ballerina and a dancing and choreographing father, studied at the Royal Conservatory for Professional Dance in Madrid and the School of the National Ballet of Cuba. Amongst others he danced with the Deutsche Oper Berlin and the Royal Ballet of Flanders. Solidly rooted in classical dance, Montero explores contemporary movement vocabulary in his choreography. This season his company, twenty-two dancers, many of them his compatriots, present works by Nacho Duato, Johan Inger, Ohad Naharin in addition to Montero’s own creations. In early July they will guest with “Cinderella” at the Chekhov International Theatre Festival in Moscow. Dance definitely has moved on from its former niche existence in Nuremberg!
This season’s gala wasn’t sparing with highlights: on the guest list were dancers from Stuttgart Ballet, Semperoper Ballet Dresden, English National Ballet, Les Ballets de Monte Carlo and Stanislavsky Ballet Moscow sharing the program with Nuremberg’s troupe. (more…)