Tag Archive: Mikael Karlsson

Premiering Next to a Genius

“Balanchine / Liang / Proietto”
Vienna State Ballet
Vienna State Opera
Vienna, Austria
November 01, 2016

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2016 by Ilona Landgraf

1. L.Konovalova, V.Shishov and ensemble, “Symphony in C” by G.Balanchine © Vienna State Ballet / A.Taylor 2016Vienna State Ballet’s new mixed bill traces an arc from a piece capturing Balanchine’s pure classicism to a new, multi-art form work honoring the tradition of romantic ballets. The fascination of flying and the idea of weightlessness unites the three pieces. Edwaard Liang’s “Murmuration”, 2013 choreography for Houston Ballet, deals with the flight formation of flocks of birds. For “Blanc”, the evening’s world premiere, Argentinian choreographer Daniel Proietto took inspiration from Michael Fokine’s flying sylphs. The opener, George Balanchine’s “Symphony in C”, doesn’t involve aviation but leaves one in the most elevated of moods when it is danced well. And so it was. The company was in sunniest form on opening night.

Natascha Mair and Jakob Feyferlik led the first movement of “Symphony in C.” Both were precise, swift and conveyed an infectious good mood. Í liked Liudmila Konovalova and Vladimir Shishov, the second movement’s main couple. Konovalova, blessed with a refined technique, subtly nuanced between composed grief and almost playful cheerfulness. Her tender fragility was met by Shishov’s caring look and fine partnering. (more…)


Semperoper Ballet
Dresden, Germany
March 12, 2016

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2016 by Ilona Landgraf

1. C.Bauch, “COW” by A.Ekman, Semperoper Ballet © T.M.Rives“COW” is the Swedish choreographer Alexander Ekman’s new creation for the Semperoper Ballet Dresden. As the title suggests, cows – sculptures, not living cattle – are the common thread of this otherwise plotless piece, albeit not dancing but sometimes merely watching what is going on.

The piece is a result of intense teamwork by four artists: composer Mikael Karlsson, costume designer Henrik Vibskov, and multimedia expert T.M.Rives working with Ekman who kept things firmly in hand. Karlsson, who has collaborated with Ekman for several years, contributed the music. He first recorded the basic sounds with Germany’s National Youth Orchestra; then the material was electronically alienated and remixed. It involves a sequence of cowlike “mooing” lasting several minutes. Ekman used the music to generate atmosphere and as a signal for the dancers when to start or which rhythm to keep. One pas de deux, “Silence”, except for single tones, is done without music. The dancers add to the acoustics by speaking, shouting and screaming. One of them, Skyler Maxey-Wert, even sings a song “Nothing Moves a Cow” at the end. (more…)