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Stuttgart Ballet, festive week – gala performances

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A wealth of global talent on the stage tonight. Students of the John-Cranko-School of all ages (The four seasons, A spell on you, Extracts from Etudes), and guests from the Ecole de Danse de L’Opera national de Paris (PDD from the 3rd act of Nureyev’s The Sleeping Beauty), The Royal Ballet School (Sae Maeda and Nicholas Landon in the PDD from MacMillan’s Concerto), Canada’s National Ballet School (I loves you Porgy by Demis Volpi), and the School of the Hamburg Ballet (Extracts from John Neumeier’s Yondering).

The Four Seasons has been coordinated by Demis Volpi, and each season is created by a different choreographer, all active at Stuttgart Ballet, three of which as dancers. Katarzyna Kozielska for spring (pointe work, students from the 1st year of the lower school to the final year of the upper school, dancers in nude tights/ unitards and with flowers across the body), Louis Stiens for summer (contemporary, leisure wear), Fabio Adorisio for autumn (leggings and unitards in dark blue with shades of purple, plus a number of semi-transparent yellow raincoats), Demis Volpi for winter (pointe work, a single long PDD with lots of slow intricate lifts, performed superbly by two dancers of the final year of the upper school, clothed in white).

Marco Goecke’s A spell on you was created for the school in May 2016. Performed to songs by Nina Simone, it shows what I would describe as trademark Goecke – black pants, flickering ams, angular movements. I loved it.

The two pieces together showed very impressively the depth and breadth of the skills of the students, performing brilliantly across a wide spectrum of choreographic styles.

Three of the four performances by the guests were single PDD. As a result, highlighting individuals would inadvertently create a question about those names that are not mentioned. While I enjoyed all their performances immensely, and as they are all still students, I thus leave it to emphasising the joy of performing that was visible throughout – when they came on stage, during their performances, and in receiving the so well-deserved applause.

Extracts from Etudes, choreographed by Tadeusz and Barbara Matacz, closed the programme. Bringing together students of the John-Cranko-School of all ages, it started with stretching exercises on the floor by the youngest students and progressed through the age groups, showing their ever-increasing skills as part of their training. An endless flow of grand jetes across the stage, a series of fouettees that didn’t travel an inch, a manege, and many more.

Long, and loud applause, many shouts of bravo, repeated curtain calls, the look of immense joy on the dancer’s faces. A marvellous evening.

It was wonderful to meet Yumiko in the interval tonight, and the 20 minutes that we had didn’t suffice for our conversation.




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A day full of ballet yesterday.

It was wonderful to meet toursenlair in the morning.

Change of attire and into the park for the open-air broadcast of the gala performance. Thank you, Angela, for providing information in relation to the broadcast in recent posts.

Sonia Santiago, a former first soloist with the company, moderated the broadcast eloquently and in an engaging manner, through background information, interviews and audience participation.

The gala started with a very personal and touching speech by Tamas Detrich, describing Reid Anderson as leader, teacher and guide, and as his mentor. He concluded his speech with the marvellous words “I lift my hat, and I bow to you in graciousness”. Other speakers highlighted Reid Anderson’s achievements, in particular the combination of tradition and continued organic development, and the identification and further support of talents. One of the statements that resonated with me most was that Reid Anderson “kept John Cranko’s heritage without creating a sterile museum”.

The programme of the gala – 4 ½ hours long – was a showcase of the combination of tradition and development. From Sleeping Beauty via John Cranko to choreographers who emanated from Stuttgart Ballet/ who work with the company today. From current students of the School and current dancers with Stuttgart Ballet to dancers who were with the company in the past as well as international guests. 4 of the 18 pieces at the gala were world premieres.

With the many different choreographic styles, taste will inevitably differ. While performances were sublime throughout, personal highlights were Etudes as it illustrated the wealth of talent and skills at the School just as it had done the night before, the Black Swan PDD (Elisa Badenes and Constantine Allen), and in particular the Tchaikovsky PDD as Elisa Badenes (in a debut) and Friedemann Vogel made it look as if there was nothing more natural to do and nothing easier to dance.

I do need to remember to take sun cream with me next time. ;-)

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and in particular the Tchaikovsky PDD as Elisa Badenes (in a debut) and Friedemann Vogel made it look as if there was nothing more natural to do and nothing easier to dance.



Oooooh, how lovely and what a terrific description, Duck. Elisa is another RBS graduate from 7 years ago who the RB missed out on, alas.

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She is really special, and she is testament to the fact that dancers at Stuttgart Ballet can progress through the ranks very quickly.


The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung published a picture of her and Friedemann Vogel in the Tchaikovsky PDD http://www.faz.net/aktuell/feuilleton/russische-tanzkunst-bolschoi-ballett-feiert-jubilaeum-14358356.html (bizarrely, this picture is the cover of a short report about the current visit of the Bolshoi in London). Their overwhelming smiles are part of what made their performance on Sunday so thrilling.

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