Tag Archive: Heinz Spoerli

Conversations with Marijn Rademaker and Jozef Varga

Dutch National Ballet
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
June, 2017

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2017 by Ilona Landgraf

1. Dutch National Opera & Ballet © L.KramerThe beautiful opera house and national ballet company are as welcoming and open as Amsterdam itself. During my last visit for the premiere of Alexei Ratmansky’s “Shostakovich Trilogy” in mid-June, I took the opportunity to talk with two principal dancers, Marijn Rademaker and Jozef Varga, about their career and their plans for the future.

Rademaker, a Dutchman, returned home in 2015 after many years with Stuttgart Ballet. We met in a cafe opposite the opera house a few hours before the premiere. Rademaker’s answers are in italics. (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…)

“I am always in love.”

Fabien Voranger
Dresden, Germany
October, 2015

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2015 by Ilona Landgraf

1. Fabien Voranger, photo: Ian WhalenLove guided and catalyzed Fabien Voranger’s career in several decisive situations. Just aged ten, being infatuated with a young girl fueled his interest in ballet and led to his audition for the Ballet School of the Paris Opera; and, as it happens, he was accepted. Later, while he was in a scholarship study program at the Royal Ballet School in London his girlfriend was his major support during a reorientation forced by injury. Love almost made him follow a ballerina to Australia. His desire to express his art led to many moves but ultimately to success.
Now, at the age of thirty-four, his love is rooted in Dresden, where Voranger, meanwhile principal of Semperoper Ballet, lives with his wife, opera singer Antigone Papoulkas, and two sons. In early October we met there in a French bistro to talk about his career, his life and his vision of the art of ballet.

Voranger started to take ballet lessons around the age of six together with two of his his three sisters in his home village close to Aix-en-Provence in Southern France. (more…)

Promoting the Future of Dance in Armenia

Arsen Mehrabyan, “Forceful Feelings”
Stockholm, Sweden
September 2015

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2015 by Ilona Landgraf

1. Arsen Mehrabyan, photo Carl Thorborg“Forceful Feelings” is a small ballet troupe created by five Armenian dancers, who, though dancing with various Western companies, are welded together by a determination to foster dance, especially ballet, in their home country. Touring internationally they are also introducing foreign audiences to Armenian culture. All five were born in the capital Yerevan, their families by chance being closely connected to each other; all studied at Yerevan’s National Ballet School where they were classmates, and all left Armenia to dance abroad.
Tigran Mikayelyan is principal dancer with the Bavarian State Ballet, Artur Babajanyan joined the Joffrey Ballet, Arman Grigoryan is solo dancer with the State Ballet Berlin, Vahe Martirosyan and Arsen Mehrabyan dance with the Royal Swedish Ballet, Martirosyan as first soloist, Mehrabyan as principal. Mehrabyan is the troupe’s artistic director and choreographer. I met him in Stockholm’s Royal Opera House in early September to talk about his career, professional dance in Armenia and the intentions of “Forceful Feelings”. (more…)