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Stuttgart Ballet, Mixed Programme “Break-through!”


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This mixed programme premiered last Thursday, inspired by the 100th anniversaries of both the creation of the Bauhaus and the events surrounding the adoption of the Weimar Constitution.

Katarzyna Kozielska’s piece IT.Floppy.Rabbit draws on designs created by artists at the Bauhaus. The lamp designed by Wilhelm Wagenfeld is depicted through a white, semi-translucent lamp shade with a dancer in shiny black as lampstand underneath who does lots of bourrees. A dancer crawls along the floor, moving towards the lamp (a metaphor for searching and finding the iconic design?). A PDD makes use a Bauhaus design for a cloth, the performing couple is linked by the fabric, making for intriguing choreography. A video shows a figure from Oskar Schlemmer’s Triadic Ballet being drawn. Other than the initial solo, lots of PDD and dancing in groups, with female dancers on pointe. Costumes and hairstyles are inspired by those at the time, too – bobs for the female dancers and identical tight tops & shiny shorts which are tight at the waist and pretty wide at the legs. The music is rhythmic, pulsating a well as soft with strings and percussion. The piece ends with lots of small lamps lit behind a semi-transparent screen (an indication that the Bauhaus has been fully established & the designs have been made widely available?).

The introductory talk explained that Edward Clug got inspired for his work Patterns in 3/4 by paintings created at the Bauhaus. The work is design oriented and playful. Tall light grey movable structures that look like the mirror image of the letter “L” illustrate what I think are the bottom right hand corners of window frames (a plant is put on one of them later on). Lots of arm swinging in front of the body in combination with (quarter) turns each. A dancer moves one of those small red push birds that are designed to help toddlers learn to walk across the stage. Heads bob along the lower part of the window frames. Dancers wear identical black pants and white shirts with a red line along the spine, female dancers in ballet flats this time. The music in three-four time (hence the title of the work) incudes Steve Reich’s Tokyo/ Vermont Counterpoint (so that was a good dose of music by Steve Reich at the weekend, I don’t hope it’ll be before long that I’ll have that pleasure again).

If the first two pieces referred to the Bauhaus, Revolt by Nanine Linning took its inspiration from the tumultuous times surrounding the adoption of the Weimar Constitution. The choreography portrays how protest movements, based on the right to free speech, arise and develop, starting with the activities of individuals who then carry others with them (while still others initially walk past without paying attention) to form groups that then increase in size. Movements just as the music pulsating, moving forward, combative. Again the same costumes for female and male dancers, in shades of blue, with face masks towards the end, and no shoes this time.

I found this programme convincing in a number of ways - based on historical events, the link to another art form, the clear and straightforward stage designs, the identical costumes for female and male dancers, the fact that most of the choreography doesn't reflect the dancer's positions in the company, and that there lots of members of the corps on stage.

So the programme was really interesting, and it was also positively life affirming. Thinking about the works that I had seen – in Stuttgart and elsewhere – over the previous months, I had started to wonder where the sparkle had gone. This programme has shown that it is still there and very much a matter of choreographic styles and musical choices. Fingers crossed for tickets for performances of this programme towards the end of this season.

Link to pictures https://www.swr.de/swr2/kultur-info/ballett-abend-aufbruch-in-stuttgart-ueber-100-jahre-bauhaus-und-weimarer-verfassung/-/id=9597116/did=23750942/nid=9597116/1hhyjbj/index.html

Link to extracts from the three works https://www.swr.de/kunscht/ballett-aufbruch/-/id=12539036/did=23431918/nid=12539036/30wbqs/index.html

 

Edited by Duck
grammar
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Oh, thank you, Vanartus & Jan :-)

 

I take notes during intervals (which sometimes attracts strange looks by those sitting near me ;-) and use pictures in previews and reviews to jog my memory when I write these up. I am pretty sure, however, that I am missing out on lots of details (I also tried taking notes in the dark but these just weren't sufficiently legible) , and I am often at a loss as to how to describe the more modern wriggly movements. Maybe one day ...

 

As for Mayerling, I'll be at the Insight Event on 12 May but haven't made up my mind yet as to whether I'll go and see a performance, too. I saw all three performances of the Watson/ Galeazzi cast in 2013 plus the cinema relay in 2009 (Jan - that was at the Odeon at Liverpool One, so maybe we happened to be in the same place for this one?), and I sometimes wonder whether I am ready (yet) to see this work with any other cast. I'll give this some more thought.

@ Vanartus, I'll be at a number of performances, both at the Theaterhaus and the Opera House, in the first three weeks of July, so in the event that you decide to head to Stuttgart also before 28th July and would like to meet up, feel free to send me a PM. Would be great to catch up again.

 

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