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Stuttgart Ballet, Night pieces, triple bill

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I saw the new triple bill „Night pieces“ on Tuesday evening. It was also a great opportunity to meet Angela before the performance, to put a face to a name and catch up on ballet and things. J


Edward Clug’s Ssss… provides the atmosphere of a quiet late-night bar – a pianist playing Nocturnes by Chopin live on stage, lots of empty low chairs, a few guests/ dancers sitting on some of them. All dressed in midnight blue, the dancers in loose smart clothing and the pianist in a beautiful long evening dress. The piece depicts a number of temporary relationships, focussing on (the following all my own interpretation) isolation and yearning (e.g., a long introductory solo), keeping someone at a distance (e.g., a female dancer stretching out one foot at 90 degrees in front of her), attraction/ holding on to someone/ not letting go (e.g., a male dancer holding the ankle of that foot, or lying on the floor and holding on to the ankle of a female dancer standing next to him), a relationship triangle where two male dancers struggle over the same woman, with her getting bored about it, etc. The relationships don’t hold – at the end of a Nocturne, a dancer either goes off stage or back to one of the chairs. I really enjoyed this piece and its calm, contemplative atmosphere, and in fact much more than when I saw it for the first time, back in 2013.


Qi by Louis Stiens stands for atmosphere/ breath/ energy and was premiered last Friday. Reading the programme notes, the link to the term “night” stems from the calmness, depth and creativity that night-time brings. Also, the clothing is elegant black sleepwear. The choreography alternates between solos/ duos and group scenes, in particular the latter with smooth/ round and synchronised movements, especially for the arms. The music is electronic at the start and very end (which is also where movements are a lot more angular and hectic) with a long phase of music by baroque composer Schmelzer in-between. I really liked the choreography to Schmelzer, being soft, melodic and rather hypnotising in its parts for the larger group. There were lots of loud and prolonged cheers for the dancers.


Jiri Kylian’s Falling Angels also had music live on stage and was simply stunning. The all-female cast walks towards the front of the stage in slow motion. One dancer after the other, they start to dance to the rhythm of the drums (the first part from Steve Reich’s Drumming). From time to time, one or two of the dancers break out from the group to perform a variation and then go back into the group with its synchronised movements. The movements come with an amazing creativity – different ways of walking, turning one’s head, flexing one's arms, pulling one’s costume, lying supine on the floor and raising one's upper body and legs as in a fitness routine, … and many more. None of the dancers leave the stage, and they all dance non-stop from start to end. Kudos to the dancers for their stamina and memory. The applause erupted like lava from a volcano last night.


I had hesitated for a long time before I bought a ticket for the triple bill, thinking that it might be too contemporary for me. I would have missed out on a great evening.


There is a photo gallery from the triple bill on the company’s web site https://www.stuttgart-ballet.de/schedule/night-pieces/images/.


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