Finally, this weekend I was able to see live ballet again. And, like quite a few other fans of Stuttgart Ballet, after almost 7 and a half ballet-barren months I was so starved of this particular kind of pleasure that I went to see all three performances - yes, I treated myself..!
And yes, a mixed bill it was, and while I enjoyed all the Works presented, whether New as a creation or New to the Stuttgart stage, I do agree that not all of them were a complete success. It is always fascinating to read other viewers’ accounts of your own local troupe and members on this forum really do have an amazing amount of experience and knowledge on ballet that has provided me with lots of valuable insights since I rediscovered ballet a few years ago. So I really loved reading your accounts of the stream, LACAD and Sabine0308, and, of course, ninamargaret, even if I was slightly taken aback by the use of the term “consternation”… not sure whether it is as strong a term in English as it is in the German language.
It’s certainly true, that Stuttgart Ballet love choreographic experiments at the risk of creating “duds”. I do hope, in this case, however that none of them will turn out to be quite that, although, admittedly my experience with the Spuck piece was similar to yours – it made for pleasant viewing, the backdrop painting with its stylise trees was beautiful, but I did not find it very memorable.
Still curious about that cause of “consternation”, LACAD, I went and had look at the live stream after the three shows and felt very strongly that some of the pieces did not really transmit very effectively at all onto the screen. The atmosphere evoked by the set, lighting, music and dancing in the real theatre context seemed to have burst like a bubble – which, I thought, especially applied to Source by Clug, but also, to some extent to the Goecke, where the ingenious, magical lighting really is an integral part of the story-telling by the dancers and the choreography but hardly registered on the screen.
Source, seen live, developed a real hypnotic pull: visually - the centre-piece is a a huge chandelier-like structure hung with ceiling- to-floor strands of translucent material which initially served as a maze to the dancers and later were drawn up to a shorter length to hover like a good spirit (that of Cranko, perhaps) and shining a light above the dancers who were dressed in black-and-white sports suits looking very sleek; musically – a beautiful if minimalist score – and also thanks to the reduced-to-the-max choreo with its use of unexpected twists. All in all, it made for a very fragile composition which, I feel, should best be seen in full without close-ups and heard with the full resonance of the live orchestra. The live stream made the choreography look overly simplistic. Whether this could have been improved by different camera work, I am not sure. I suspect, that some pieces just fall flat when streamed. Now, and since I have written this overlong sentence above, I have discovered Jeannettes’ comment on the piece in the other thread who obviously enjoyed the piece despite the live stream, so perhaps what I have been writing is just down to the usual disillusionment of watching a streamed performance after you’ve seen the real thing. By the way, even on the third viewing Source still felt like only 10 minutes rather than the 25 minutes it actually lasted.
Loved Nachtmerrie by Goecke, whom I very much admire like a lot of other German ballet-goers, as, for me, he has developed a choreographic language which can express the emotional turmoil of human existence and interaction with unrivalled clarity and graphic poignancy. I can understand that a lot of people find his style too disjointed, difficult, jerky - it goes so much against the grain of the flowing lines of ballet dancing.
I absolutely loved Blake Works I, of course, which was danced with so much spirit and exuberance. “Breezy dynamism”, such a perfect description of how the piece should ideally be danced, LACAD, and I could see that not all SB dancers had quite achieved that, yet. By the third performance, however, you could already see how much easier and flowing the dancing had become and how much the dancers really enjoyed flaunting it.