EMAIL FROM ... DRESDEN (DEMIS VOLPI)
Dear Stuttgart Audience,
since Saturday evening I am in Dresden with Canada’s National Ballet School at the Dance Biennale. It is hosted by the Palucca Hochschule for Dance! It is really amazing how many extraordinary artists are here now to pass on their knowledge and skills to all those young dancers during workshops and symposia.
Last night we saw a William Forsythe programme at the Semperoper Ballett. We were especially inspired by his timeless “Enemy in the Figure”! And, of course, the students were also impressed by the theatre which they’re going to dance in.
I am looking forward to tomorrow, when excerpts from my new piece for the National Ballet School will be danced by those special dancers on the stage of the legendary Semperoper!
Now I am on my way to the rehearsal and tonight the first schools already have their performances. Keep your fingers crossed for us for tomorrow night!
Greetings from sunny Dresden,
EMAIL FROM ... THE KAMMERTHEATER (MATTHIAS KIPP)
Demis Volpi, Damiano Pettenella and Hyo-Jung
Kang rehearsing Aftermath
A warm hello from the Kammertheater to all our fans of “Behind the scenes with the Stuttgart Ballet”.
We already had four wonderful and interesting evenings of “Behind the scenes with the Stuttgart Ballet” this week, with our associate Artistic Director Tamas Detrich, our Ballet Master Krzyzstof Nowogrodzki, resident choreographer Demis Volpi, choreographer Edward Clug and many dancers from our company.
The wonderful, comfortable and relaxed atmosphere that Benno Brösicke and his production crew of the Kammertheater create every year, the enormous interest of our audience (the shows are always sold out fast, but often it’s still possible to get tickets at the box office in the evening) and the willingness of our dancers, to do “extra” rehearsals in the evenings in front of an audience is really fabulous.
The collaboration with the colleagues from the Kammertheater, who support us in every way with professionalism, creativity, talent of improvisation and so much dedication for this event, is heartwarming. In spite of all intensive preparations for the “Behind the scenes …”-evenings, there’s always a bit of improvisation left in the end.
But it is always a great pleasure to watch these evenings, when everything works out perfectly and we see and hear so many new things about ballet and dance or about the dancers of our company. It is a wonderful feeling that our long tradition of “Behind the scenes with the Stuttgart Ballet” is carried forward by these evenings.
We’ll surely see each other at one of the next performances.
All the best,
E-MAIL FROM ... LONDON (MARIJN RADEMAKER)
Dan Gillespie Sells, Marijn Rademaker, Edward Watson,
Javier de Frutos im Studio
Hi dear friends in Stuttgart!
I’m writing to you from the canteen in the Royal Opera House where I have just finished class with the Royal Ballet. I’m working here in London for the show Men in Motion that will premiere on the 30th and 31st of January in the Coliseum. The same theatre where the Stuttgart Ballet danced Romeo and Juliet years ago. I still remember dancing Romeo there :) Because of planning and studio space availability I sometimes also have to rehearse in Sadler’s Wells. The theatre where Stuttgart Ballet just danced The Taming of the Shrew and the gala program, so I also have very nice memories there!
In Men in Motion I will dance one of my favorites, Marco Goeckes Äffi, and a new duet with Royal Ballet principal dancer Edward Watson. It’s a great honor for me to dance with him, because he is one of the very great English dancers of our time. I arrived here on the 23rd of January, so we only have a week to make this Pas de deux! It’s choreographed by Javier de Frutos, a choreographer who has been in London already a long time. He makes ballets but also directs musicals here in London. He even won an Olivier Award for his Cabaret. It’s great to work with him, and even though we don’t have a lot of time, we have a lot of fun and there is a lot of laughter.
Another great addition to this piece is that Dan Gillespie Sells will join us and sing 3 songs on stage. He is the front man in the famous English pop band The Feeling. He’s a great guy and he has the most amazing voice so it’s going to be very special dancing to his singing! I find it quite special, creating something new here in London and collaborating with these three great artists. I think it’s going to be a very touching duet. I hope you can all see it one day!
All the best and (even though it’s great here) I can’t wait to get back!
E-MAIL FROM ... SHANGHAI (FRIEDEMANN VOGEL)
Friedemann Vogel, Oscar Chacon
in Maurice Béjart's Songs of a Wayfarer,
Photo: Anne Bichsel
just arrived in Shanghai to where I was invited by the Bejart Ballet Lausanne to join their Tour.
On my arrival I went straight to the theatre to rehearse for our performance tomorrow.
The Shanghai Arts Festival presents a Mahler evening by Bejart.
Together with Oscar Chacon I will dance "Songs of a wayfarer".
I am very much looking forward to dance this great pas de deux again and of course
to have it soon in Stuttgart as well.
See you soon,
lots of love
E-MAIL FROM ... MOSCOW (EVAN MCKIE)
Evan McKie (Onegin) und Alicia Amatriain (Tatjana)
in John Crankos Onegin
It is with great pleasure that I am able to write this email to all of you Stuttgarters at home.
I, along with Alicia, Anna, Friedemann and Nicolai have just come off stage from dancing Cranko's ultimate Stuttgart-classic, ONEGIN, with the Bolshoi ballet. It was a unique feeling to be dancing Puschkin's great literary anti-hero in Russia where every audience member has grown up knowing the tragically romantic poem.
The company was extremely welcoming and were very curious to know how a group from Stuttgart approached the steps. Luckily we had a great Onegin from another era with us in Tamas Detrich. It was great having him lead us and the company through the rehearsal Saturday morning before the show. The conductor had never directed a performance of Onegin before and we wanted to make sure that we could really get the most out of the extremely robust-sounding Bolshoi orchestra. The stage, of course is "Bolshoi" which we all know means "big" though it is in fact humongous. It really felt as if we were in the Russian countryside or a grand St. Petersburg ballroom at some points.
The experience was a very special one which we thought would be appropriate to celebrate at Moscow's celebrated Café Puschkin afterwards. Alicia, Anna, Friedeman and I have all grown up at the Cranko-School seeing this ballet at some point of our dancer-developement (and Nicolai grew up reading the story in Russia) so as you might imagine, none of us would have ever expected to be dancing our individual roles at this particular theater that is such a part of cultural history.
Having said that, I'm sure there was a part of each of us that missed having our Stuttgart-wonder audience in front of us for this particular ballet.
With love and greetings from all of us from the Russian capital.
See you soon-
-Evan McKie with Alicia Amatriain, Anna Osadcenko, Friedemann Vogel, Nicolai Godunov and Tamas Detrich
E-MAIL FROM ... PROJEKTRAUM LOTTE (LOUIS STIENS)
Projektraum LOTTE an der Willy-Brand-Straße, Foto: Martin Becker
Dear Stuttgart audience, dear ballet fans, dear friends!
I am writing to you from Projektraum LOTTE on Willy-Brand-Straße, where I have been preparing a project with my dance colleague Robert Robinson for some months which is very important to both us.
Projektraum LOTTE is a space designed by art students as a gallery that gives young artists – and those who want to become artists – the possibility to realize their ideas beyond rules and expectations. They are only committed to their own idea, but also with hardly any financial support!
Last year Robert and I passed this little room with two windows on our way home, tired and exhausted from the performances, and we started thinking about what a dancing body would look like inside these decayed, bare but still strangely welcoming walls. A shop window inhabited by a dancer who can be watched by people accidentally passing by, telling about his past/present/future life. This was my first idea and it was received well by the curators of LOTTE who willingly offered their support.
Now I have two more weeks to finish the Solo Slam for Robert. The architect Christine Nasz and her colleague Stefanie Hunold created a space resembling a cell, which gives the gallery a new look. Locked in this floating prison, Robert will adopt the room as his own. From the windows the audience will see him searching the walls and floor for a way out and realizing that he cannot leave this prison, which might also stand for his own body.
We’re wishing for an exciting experience outside of the theatre, which will – in the midst of city life, people passing by, the heavy traffic and the construction site at the main station – question dance, choreography and their place of origin anew.
We are hoping to meet all of you at LOTTE! Please keep your fingers crossed, so we will manage to set up this daring project during the next days and come along to see the result. We’re looking forward to seeing you there!
Louis Stiens und Robert Robinson!
E-MAIL FROM... NEW YORK (KATARZYNA KOZIELSKA)
Rehearsal for "As Yet, Not Named" in New York
Hello everybody in Stuttgart!
I am in New York creating a new piece for Ballet Next. The world premiere will be at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, so this is a great honor for me. I am working with wonderful dancers Michele Wiles (she was a principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre), Georgina Pazcoguin (she is a soloist with New York City Ballet), Kristie Latham and Jesus Pastor as well as Jens Weber (he used to dance in Monte Carlo). I am also working with Tiffany Mangulabnan and Abigail Simon who will be performing in the second show.
This is anyway already a great experience. So many things happen here in New York – it’s absolutely crazy and it's giving me many new ideas. I am finding myself even thinking differently. My movements are reflecting what I experience here every day (it's even amazing to me how much I have changed).
However: I really miss my home (Stuttgart), my husband and my daughter and of course my second family which is the Stuttgart Ballet!
Even though I am doing what I love I feel sad not be able to be a part of the upcoming premiere of "Masterpieces". I know it will be great!
Toi Toi Toi to everybody!!!
See you soon!
E-MAIL FROM... MOSCOW (FRÄNZI GÜNTHER)
Stefan Seyrich-Hofmeister, Fränzi Günther, Axel Schob
in front of the Bolshoi Theatre (photo: privat)
Hello from a totally snow-covered Moscow!
We – Axel Schob (head of the production crew), Stefan Seyrich-Hofmeister (lighting) and Fränzi Günther (Administrative Director of the Stuttgart Ballet) – have travelled to the legendary Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow because the company will be dancing two different programs on two different stages of the Bolshoi Theatre in May 2013.
Despite cancelled flights and rebookings, delays and one hour circling over Moscow, we arrived in a totally snow-covered city yesterday. Even the four-lane highways and the center of the city are fully covered with snow, 10 to 20 cm high!! (But that does not keep the people from driving quite fast – they seem to be used to these conditions.)
Today we were inspecting the whole complex includes both stages of the Bolshoi Theatre– the so-called “Traditional Stage” and “New Stage”. We also learned about the technical equipment of both stages, about the dressing rooms, the ballet studios and other facilities at the theater. With this information we are able to prepare the tour, prepare detailed planning of all the processes and rehearsals in Moscow and understand which technical equipment is available there for our guest performances (what do we have to adapt, what can be realized as in Stuttgart) – and very important: where is the canteen?
We were able to find out that we will be performing in an excellently equipped theatre – there are even several canteens! But if one would have abandoned us somewhere in this theatre we would have been totally lost. In this huge complex of buildings there are incredible passage ways (also subterranean) between the different stages and the “administrative” building! Luckily we have been accompanied by our very nice translator Daria, a former staff member at the Bolshoi Theatre, as well as by our Russian colleagues of the Bolshoi Theatre, who have been with us all day. They also assured that in May there will be fixed enough signs for us – good to hear!
Despite the shock because of the attack on Sergey Filin, Artistic Director of the Bolshoi Theatre, last night all our Russian colleagues were still calm and patient enough to show us everything and to answer all our questions. We really appreciate the staff’s professionalism, especially in this situation. Together with our Russian colleagues we made sure that our tour to Moscow will still take place – now more than ever! After this day and knowing that it will be warmer and the days brighter, we are really looking forward to returning to Moscow in May!
All the best,
E-MAIL FROM... LONDON (JASON REILLY)
Jason Reilly and Alina Cojocaru in John Cranko's Onegin (Copyright: Bill Cooper)
after a whirlwind of preparations and rehearsals, I am gearing up for my first performance of Onegin with the Royal Ballet. My partner is Alina Cojocaru and this is the first time we are dancing together,
so of course I am having fun because I LOVE to work with different partners, especially when they are stupendous dancers and really, really pretty! No, seriously, it is fabulous to work with Alina and of course it is awesome to be back here on the stage of the Royal Opera House here in Covent Garden.
See you soon again in Stuttgart and all the best,
E-MAIL FROM... DUBAI (ALICIA AMATRIAIN AND DAVID MOORE)
Alicia Amatriain und David Moore in Dubai (Foto: privat)
Hello from Alicia and David in Dubai.
We have finished our second show of Romeo and Juliet this evening and have our last one tomorrow evening. Everyone has been great here. The weather is like a good German summers day so we're having a good time.
Be back soon with lots of love
Alicia and David
E-MAIL FROM... TORONTO (EVAN MCKIE)
Evan McKie in Giselle, Copyright: Stuttgart Ballet
Three years ago I had the pleasure of dancing the role of Albrecht in Giselle for the first time. When I first joined Stuttgart Ballet from the John Cranko School I begged Reid Anderson to one day let me learn the role. It was too soon but I was so intrigued by the eerie beauty of the ballet, particularly the romantic style of the pas de deux and the idea of “dancing to one's death” that is required in the second act after Albrecht has betrayed Giselle. Eventually, when the time was right, I was allowed to perform the role and it has since become one of my favorites.
This month I've returned to the National Ballet of Canada to perform Albrecht for a North American audience. Toronto is where I was born so it is very special for me to be able to dance for my countrymen for a second time since I was here last March. However, the ballet Giselle is set in Germany and in actual fact the version I am dancing was first created by Sir Peter Wright in Stuttgart so it is hard not to think of our beautiful theatre am Schlossgarten when I take each step.
I wish you all a beautiful Christmas season and look very much forward to dancing for you again.
E-MAIL FROM... BERLIN (JASON REILLY)
Jason Reilly in Romeo and Juliet, Copyright: Stuttgart Ballet
Just arrived in Berlin where I am dancing two performances of John Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet. What is really fun is that my Juliet is Shoko Nakamura, a former dancer of the Stuttgart Ballet! And my fierce opponent Tybalt is also being danced by a former colleague: Ibrahim Önal! So it’s like a small reunion here and of course I love this role.
These two performances will warm me up perfectly for my Romeo-performances in Stuttgart in the New Year.
Lots of love from the Capitol,
E-MAIL FROM … MELBOURNE (ELISA BADENES AND DANIEL CAMARGO)
Elisa Badenes and Daniel Camargo
rehearsing Little Monsters,
copyright: Sébastien Galtier
Hello from Down Under,
from both of us! We arrived safely in Melbourne, where we’ve been invited to dance at the 50th Anniversary Gala of the Australian Ballet. It’s an exciting journey, first of all because we’ve both never been to Melbourne before, secondly because ballet stars from all over the world are here for the Anniversary – we’re going to meet dancers from the American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet, National Ballet of China and the Tokyo Ballet backstage! In the galas, we will dance two pieces which mean a lot to us: Little Monsters, a modern Pas de Deux Demis Volpi created for us, and the classical „Grand Pas de Deux“ from Don Quijote. Actually these are both short pieces, but we couldn’t have chosen a more challenging program – both require extreme strength and concentration … and are extremely fun to dance!
On Wednesday there’s the premiere in the Arts Centre Melbourne; all in all we’ll do five shows in four days. Still we very much hope there will be time in between rehearsals and performances for at least one trip to the beach – it’s been sunny every day!
Many regards to all of you,
Elisa and Daniel
E-MAIL FROM… STOCKHOLM (FRIEDEMANN VOGEL)
Friedemann Vogel in Marcia Haydées
Dornröschen, Foto: Stuttgarter Ballett
Dear Stuttgarters, dear friends,
today I am sending greetings from Sweden! I particularly enjoy this stay here, not only because it is my first time in Stockholm, but also because I have been invited to dance Marcia's Sleeping Beauty - a ballet that I love very much and know very well (just like the choreographer).
After intensive rehearsing with the company and the unique Marcia I am now lookng forward to tomorrow's premiere in the beautiful Opera House.
I am sending a big kiss home!
See you soon,
E-MAIL FROM... NEW YORK (JASON REILLY)
The Joyce Theatre in New York
I just arrived in New York to where I was invited to perform with the “ballet next” at the Joyce Theater! I love coming to this city, it is such a fun and vibrant place with very nice people.
And both, “ballet next” and the Joyce Theater, guarantee for exciting experiences. This young company was founded by former American Ballet Theatre and New York City Ballet luminaries Michele Wiles and Charles Askegard, and especially Michele and I have been wanting to work together forever! Now we’ll be on stage in the same piece, a World Premiere choreographed by Alison Cook Beatty called "Tintinnabuli", together with four more dancers.
Premiere is on Octobre 23rd, I’ll be home in Stuttgart after three more shows until the 28th. Actually I don’t even have to unpack my bags really – I’m leaving for China with the Stuttgart Ballet right after that!
So I’m really looking forward to some eventful weeks. Hope to see some of you here or there…
E-MAIL FROM... TOKYO (EVAN MCKIE)
Evan McKie in Onegin,
photo: Michel Lidvac
I am here with the renowned Tokyo Ballet dancing one of my absolute favorite roles : Evgeni Onegin. Tokyo is one of my favorite places to dance. The city is alive with Art. The fans are receptive, knowledgeable and intense in their love for certain performers and performances. I was so thrilled to dance Cranko's 'Siegfried' in Tokyo with our Stuttgart Ballet earlier this Spring so it is nice to be back so soon to dance one of our most signature roles. It makes me feel good to know that I am not on my own when I dance a ballet like this in one of the world's metropolises.
I grew up in Stuttgart and have been immersed in our generosity of spirit since I was 15 so I am bringing not only myself and my ideas with me to Tokyo but also a very large piece of 'Stuttgart.'
Onegin is a role that I could never dance the same way twice. In my most recent article for American Dance Magazine (“Turning into Tatiana” in the August 2012 issue), I explored some of the different ways ballerinas from around the world approach the part of Puschkin and Cranko's Tatiana. This makes my life on stage so exciting: I never know where the chemistry is going to go and what it will become… especially when dancing with a ballerina I have not met before. Onegin is definitely one of the few 'great' dramatic roles that the ballet world has to offer and performing it with different artists from a variety of cultural and balletic backgrounds is a fascinating journey.
I hope you are all enjoying the preparation of Don Quixote at the Stuttgart Ballet and I wish you an exciting and fulfilling premiere!
E-MAIL FROM... ROME (FRIEDEMANN VOGEL)
Svetlana Zakharova and Friedemann Vogel
in "Giselle", Copyright: Silvia Lelli
Dear Stuttgart-Ballet friends,
I am presently in Rome dancing Giselle (in a choreography by Patrice Bart) with the Ballet Company of the Teatro dell’Opera – in the open air theatre in Caracalla. My partner is Svetlana Zakharova, the Principal Dancer with the Bolschoi Ballet. It is the first time for us to work together, and Svetlana is simply beautiful to dance with!
All in all it is unbelievably romantic to dance Giselle in the moonlight, especially the second act with the magical Willis.
I will be wallowing in romanticism for some more days, and afterwards I am looking forward to returning home to Stuttgart and dance at home, indeed of my favorite parts: The Lenski in John Cranko’s Onegin.
E-MAIL FROM... TOKYO (AMI MORITA)
Ami Morita and Ensemble in Swan Lake
photo: Stuttgart Ballet
I am sending you many greetings from Toyko! I am so happy to be dancing with the Stuttgart Ballet in Japan, my homeland. I really enjoy the fact that my family is coming to watch me dance "big swans" in Swan Lake because they can not come so often to Stuttgart to watch me dance. It feels really good to be here!
I'm looking forward to seeing the Stuttgart friends and fans again, though, when we come back. But first our journey goes on to Nishinomiya, Otsu and then Seoul.
Take care, everybody, and many regards from Japan,
E-MAIL FROM... VERONA (JASON REILLY)
photo: Yuniesca Sanchez and Jason Reilly
in rehearsal, Courtesy of Arena die Verona
I am spending this week in Verona , where I’ve been invited to dance the world premiere of “The Miraculous Mandarin“ by Mario Piazza! It’s my third time to work with the ballet of the Arena di Verona, and I really like coming here –it is a small, but good ballet company, everyone is very friendly to me, and the atmosphere in the theatre and city of Verona is very special.
With my partner Yuniesca Sanchez (la ragazza / the girl) I’ll dance five performances in the Teatro Filarmonico di Verona from April 11th to April 16th. Yuniesca is not only a beautiful dancer, but also a well-known TV Star here in Italy, so I’d better not drop her if I don’t want to get in trouble with the audiences...
The choreographer, Mario Piazza (he’s also Canadian!), is well known for his contemporary works and for this program he created contemporary versions of two historical ballets: “Pulcinella” and “The Miraculous Mandarin“. It is exciting to work with him, he is a very interesting artist, and works very fast: We put a huge solo for me together in one day!
Now there is time for class and rehearsals. The piece is challenging, very physical, very strong! A little time is left to stroll around the city, though, and Verona is such a beautiful place. Still I’m looking forward to coming home to Stuttgart and to spending some days at home before I pack my bags again to go on tour with the entire company – to Japan and Korea !
Take care, everyone, and Arrivederci!
E-MAIL FROM... SANTIAGO DE CHILE (ANNA OSADCENKO)
Anna Osadcenko as Nikiya in "La Bayadera"
I am sending you my very best regards from Chile! Marcia Haydée invited me to work and perform “La Bayadera” with her company, the Ballet de Santiago, and I am so happy I could go! Everyone here is really nice, people are very warmhearted and fun to work with – so I am enjoying every moment and every day. I find it very interesting to experience a new company as a guest, especially because nobody here gives me the feeling of being a stranger.
I have always loved the ballet “La Bayadere” and dreamed of dancing the leading role of Nikiya as long as I can think, so I cannot say how thankful I am to Marcia for inviting me and making this dream come true! My partner is Luis Ortigoza, a Principal Dancer in the Ballet de Santiago, who did the choreography for this “La Bayadere” based on the one by Marius Petipa. I am lucky – he is a beautiful dancer, and a wonderful person.
Training and rehearsals will keep me quite busy, but anyway I hope to find a little time to stroll around Santiago: It is a beautiful place, the city with its old buildings, the nice parks and markets is sure worth taking a walk, and we’ve had nothing but sunny weather.
We will perform “La Bayadere” from April 18th to 21st in the Teatro Municipal de Santiago, so keep your fingers crossed, dear friends at home!
Kisses from Chile,
E-MAIL FROM... STUTTGART (EGON MADSEN)
Egon Madsen rehearsing for "La Sylphide" in the studio
I am sending you my very best regards from the ballet studios at the Stuttgart Ballet, where I am preparing some very special performances at the time: I will have my role debut in “La Sylphide” this week! In more than four decades on stage I have danced so many roles – with the Stuttgart Ballet, the Nederlands Dans Theater III, with Gauthier Dance, and in many theatres more – but I never would have imagined to do this old fortune teller “Madge” one day.
My new role is very special to me in many ways. I started my stage career at the Tivoli Pantomime Theatre in Copenhagen, and this role now contents a lot of Pantomime. Also it is beautiful for me as a Dane to be in such a Danish production – “La Sylphide” was danced and thereby preserved at the Royal Danish Ballet in Copenhagen for centuries, and the music is also from a Danish composer. So this engagement in “La Sylphide” is like a little home coming to me.
Apart from this emotional sense dancing the “Madge” is simply huge fun, the character is very strong, very expressive – and she wins in the end!
I am looking forward to meeting my wonderful Stuttgart audience again!
Best regards, yours,
E-MAIL FROM... STUTTGART (EDWARD CLUG)
Edward Clug rehearsing Ssss... in the studio with Hyo-Jung Kang
Thank you for making my thoughts move, you are my beautiful moving thinkers!
E-MAIL FROM... STUTTGART (MAURO BIGONZETTI)
Mauro Bigonzetti in the Stuttgart Ballet studio with Rolando D'Alesio
here I am sending you my best regards from Stuttgart, where I am working on a new piece with the Stuttgart Ballet right now. "Il Concertone" will have its world premiere on March 23rd, as a part of the mixed repertory evening "Körpersprache³
" in the Schauspielhaus.
Every time I am in Stuttgart, I feel at home. I feel the dancers, just as if I had worked with them forever, and I feel them following me and my work so naturally ... but with a curiosity that belongs to “the extraordinary”.
Just as I feel at home while I’m in the studio, I also do when I go back to my apartment in Good Old Stuttgart.
And all this together makes my stay here very special and nice to me. So thank you for having me, and I hope you'll enjoy the new piece just as much as we do!
E-MAIL FROM... LAUSANNE (SUE JIN KANG)
Prix de Lausanne Jury 2012. Photo: Gregory Batardon
I am sending you my very best regards from Lausanne, Switzerland, where I am one of nine jury members for the world famous ballet competition Prix de Lausanne
. Today we will be watching the young participants’ classes for classical and contemporary dance, tomorrow the competition continues on stage.
Actually, being on the jury is much more work than dancing in the competition – you have hardly any free time to stroll around this beautiful city, there is just so much to do! You need a lot of focus and concentration to spend up to twelve hours a day watching and evaluating the dancers – I don’t want to miss any detail, and it is important that each participant gets the jury’s full attention...
But I love doing this, it is interesting to see these youngsters and the amazing things they can do! Also the atmosphere among the jury members is almost like family, we all know each other well. Jose Martinez, for example, is an old friend, and with Jean-Christophe Maillot I worked together in Stuttgart for his ballet Vers Un Pays Sage
This year’s competition is a very special one as the Prix de Lausanne
is celebrating its 40th Anniversary. On Sunday there will be a big Anniversary Gala at the Théâtre de Beaulieu with many principal dancers from all over the world, all former prize winners of the Prix de Lausanne
– among them my Stuttgart colleague Friedemann Vogel
Of all the competitions I know (and I have worked as a juror on numerous contests) I think the Prix de Lausanne
is the toughest for the dancers. First of all, the artistic level is very, very high! Also not only the performances on stage, but also some classes are evaluated, so the participants are on show for much longer than a few minutes. The kids are of course nervous, which I can totally understand – I remember taking part in the competition myself so well! But the atmosphere is good, and the coaches and teachers do a good job in calming everybody down. I believe that the more relaxed you are, the better you can dance.
I’ve already seen many competitors who are doing really well already, and I’m excited to see more in the course of this week! I will be back in Stuttgart after the Anniversary Gala on Sunday and am already looking forward to seeing everybody again!
Une bisou de Lausanne,
your Sue Jin
E-MAIL FROM... BEJING (MARIA EICHWALD)
Maria Eichwald, Foto: die arge lola
I’m sending my very best regards from Bejing, this huge metropolis, where I am staying for a few days to perform in the International Ballet Gala at the National Centre for the Performing Arts.
In Bejing, people are now celebrating the Chinese New Year, and the entire city is beautifully decorated – it’s a little bit like Christmas in Europe, most shops are closed, too. Still the traffic is beyond belief, it is almost impossible to get a cab, all the buildings are just huge and there seem to be five new ones being built every day. The National Center where I am performing is an incredible sight, especially at night: a hemispherical building, surrounded by water, and glowing in various colours in the dark. It is close to the Forbidden City.
On January 19th and 20th there are two performances of the annual gala on occasion of the chinese New Year with many international ballet-stars. It is always exciting to meet and work with colleagues from all over the world. I am also very curious about the audience! I will be dancing a Pas de deux from John Neumeier’s “Lady of the Camellias” and Itzik Galilis “Mono Lisa” with Friedemann Vogel.
On Sunday I am heading back to Stuttgart, and Monday – hopefully not too badly jetlagged – will continue classes and rehearsals in my home theatre. I’m looking forward to seeing everybody again!
I wish you a happy and healthy New Year: It is the year of the Water Dragon ;-)
Best wishes from Bejing,
E-MAIL FROM... STUTTGART (POLINA SEMIONOVA)
I'm sending my warmest regards to the Stuttgart audience and all ballet fans! At the moment I have the pleasure to work with the Stuttgart Ballet, performing Swan Lake with Friedemann Vogel in the Opera House on the last day of the year 2011.
I'm excited about dancing John Cranko's Swan Lake in the theatre where it was created - that version is very special to me.
It also means a lot to me to return to this stage after dancing Onegin and in the John Cranko Gala in 2007. Although I haven't spent so much time at the Stuttgart Ballet so far, I really enjoy coming back here - I feel very heartily welcomed by the entire company, there is such a good vibe around here...
Now I am really looking forward to the Silvester Gala, and I wish all of you a healthy, successful and enjoyable New Year 2012!
E-MAIL FROM... AMSTERDAM (MARIJN RADEMAKER)
Marijn Rademaker in rehearsals for "The Nutcracker"
I wanted to send you a quick Hello from my second hometown Amsterdam! Because yes, my first home is Stuttgart :) I've been here for a few days and started rehearsing for the Prince and the Mouse King in Het Nationale Ballet's Nutcracker.
I will be on stage as of December 27th. It is wonderful to spend time in my native country and also to be able to perform in Holland - especially The Nutcracker in Christmas time.
This is going to be my very first Nutcracker, and I am absolutely excited about it! Also because in a way this is such a "Dutch" production: The story is set in Amsterdam, children are ice-skating on the canals, and "Sinterklaas" and the "Zwarte Piet" are both part of the story, so it is a little bit of a trip down memory lane for me, also because I've seen that Notenkraker on stage as a child already.
Rehearsals are going very well, on Friday the children from the ballet school joined us for the first time, which was very fun! I am learning the children's dance as well, to partner Clara. Actually that's what I'm the most nervous about, haha! If all these children know exactly what they are doing, I'd better do so, too - they shall be an example to me...
I very much hope you all spent beautiful holidays,
and I wish you all a Happy New Year with many stunning dancing experiences!
E-MAIL FROM... PARIS (EVAN MCKIE)
Aurélie Dupont and Evan McKie in Onegin, Paris
So instead of being at The Weihnachtsmarkt in Stuttgart satisfying my lebkuchen addiction or doing Christmas shopping at Breuninger, I find myself writing you from the Palais Garnier in Paris. Last weekend our director of production got me out of my morning class in Stuttgart to tell me that Brigitte Lefèvre and Mr. Anderson were impatiently waiting for me in Paris... because I had been chosen to dance Onegin
with the Paris Opera Ballet!
I was going to be partnering the exquisite ballerina Aurélie Dupont because Nicholas LeRiche had been injured suddenly. My Onegin
costume was packed in a suitcase and I was told that my train left in under 1 hour. I had no change of clothes, nothing, just what I was wearing and my Onegin
costume! On the train I just tried not to think about the surprise and magnitude of the situation! The Paris Opera is known for rarely ever inviting any international guest dancers and the french capital also happens to be my favorite city anywhere. I had a butterfly-stomach for the whole 3,5 hour train journey!
When I got here I went to rehearsal, met the beautiful Aurélie and then Reid Anderson and the Opera staff coached us privately in a short run-though of the whole ballet in one hour. We were both a bit shy at first but I could tell that I already felt something very special for Aurélie and the intensity built-up very fast. The director, Brigitte Lefèvre then surprised me by telling me that she wanted the two of us to dance the opening night instead of one of the other four casts taking over. She also offered four more shows after that! Once Mr. Anderson agreed then that was it!
Half a week later we were onstage opening Onegin
for a sold-out Parisian audience in the city where Ballet originated. I really wasn't sure how the French would react to me coming and hi-jacking their Opening night filling in for their most famous current Etoile, LeRiche. I was pretty nervous about it but just tried to think about the role itself and everything that Reid Anderson, Tamas Detrich and Georgette Tsinguirides have given me so I could bring some 'Stuttgart' to a new audience here.
Thankfully, I have been blown away by the kindness and generosity of both the company and the audience each night, who obviously accepted this tall, akward Canadian guy from Stuttgart and I am grateful to be able to live this fantasy.
I am sorry to have missed debuting Fingerspitzengefühl
, which Demis Volpi created with me and Marijn Rademaker for Aktion Weihnachten
but luckily my colleague David Moore was able to learn the piece almost overnight and undoubtedly make it his own. I can't wait to see it. I'm also thrilled to hear about some beautiful Stuttgart Swan Lake
I wish you all a joyous Holiday season! See you back home in 2012!
E-MAIL FROM ... SEOUL (EVAN MCKIE)
Hi Stuttgart family,
I've been here in Seoul for close to two weeks performing Onegin
with The Universal Ballet. I'm really happy that Hyo-Jung Kang
is here with me and had debut in the incredible role of Tatiana!
This is, afterall, Hyo-Jungs native country, which makes it extra special for her.
When the curtain fell after our first performance I was so proud that we made it together and trusted each other in a much deeper more intimate way than our sparkly Prince and Princess relationship from The Sleeping Beauty
a few years ago.
Last night we had our second show which gave us freedom to take some new risks, and the audience appeared to be moved in a way that only a ballet like Onegin
can provoke them to be. Lots of Stuttgart Ballet fans from Korea and Japan came to talk to us after both shows and there was no shortage of little girls that wanted to be just like Hyo. In a restaurant after the second show one guy yelled out at me in Korean: ''That Onegin is one cruel guy''...
Now I am rehearsing Onegin
with another ballerina for upcoming performances and she is the complete opposite of Hyo-Jung, which makes it very interesting. I am excited to see how the next performances go!
I believe that this ballet is like a roller coaster: One knows how the mechanics work before one gets on, but when the curtain rises (or the roller coaster starts to gradually ascend) one is in for some incredible thrills. When it's over, your stomach is tight and you’re moved and shaken, but the the first thing you want to do is to do it again!
I guess you know exactly what I mean:)
See you back in Stuttgart for Aktion Weihnachten
E-MAIL FROM... NEW YORK (DEMIS VOLPI)
I just wanted to say Hi from New York, where I am working on a new piece for the ABT (American Ballet Theatre). Daily work and also the repertory are quite different from home, but the dancers where very open right from the start and eager to realize my ideas.
Also the rhythm of the city is totally new to me, everything goes so fast! That means fast working at the theatre and also a very high tempo in the city in general. I’m glad they have these huge coffees here to keep me going ;)
On 5. November my new ballet Private Light will have its World Premiere, outside New York at the Bard College. The New York Premiere then follows on November 8th in the just reopened New York City Center – with 2.200 seats. I’m afraid I’ll have to be super nervous two times, then...
This week Christian Spuck visited me in the rehearsals. It was so nice getting a hug from somebody from home! I will surely miss my Stuttgart audience at the premieres, but there IS one representative, at least: the lovely Christel Binder came and is spending some days as my moral support.
I learned and discovered so much here and I am looking forward to returning home and share my new experiences with my colleagues in Stuttgart.
Keep finger’s crossed for the last rehearsals and the performances!
Much love from New York to everybody, yours,
E-MAIL FROM... MILANO (FRIEDEMANN VOGEL)
Hello to everybody from Milano, where I am dancing Jean de Brienne in Raymonda at the moment. The production is a reconstruction of the Petipa Version from 1898, which has been revived with huge efforts and painstaking research of original notes, drawings and images. It really feels a bit like time-travelling...
I have a wonderful partner in Raymonda: Olesia Novikova from St.Petersburg. To me it has been very interesting to see the original material from the Theatre Museum in St. Petersburg and to experience how it comesback to life. With all these historical sets and costumes and inside this beautiful Theatre I sometimes felt as if I had travelled back a hundred years –beautiful!
But sometimes it is not so easy dancing in the opulent costumes: In the dress rehearsal my hat – decorated with feathers and fur – started slipping into my face during my variation in the 3rd act, and by the last jump I found myself in complete darkness! But luckily at the premiere my hat stuck like a limpet.
I am having a wonderful time here, but I am also looking forward to coming home to Stuttgart! There we will be doing another ballet classic: Swan Lake, which I will apply myself to with new inspiration and new experiences now.
E-MAIL FROM... PERTH (FILIP BARANKIEWICZ)
Hi Stuttgart! How is everyone doing?
Just after our summer break, before the new season started, I got this wonderful chance to take a long distance flight and get to the other side of our Planet - Perth!
Our good friend Ivan Cavallari asked me if I would like to join the Taming of Shrew season here, one more time, and dance one of my favorite Cranko roles - Petrucchio. Of course I said "sure!".
I have done the general stage call on the 8th of September and opening on the 9th, then danced several shows until September 24th. The West Australian Ballet was having a great time with this wonderful masterpiece, and me too! The Public just loves it!
The journey to Perth feels just like having an additional holiday: Spring just started here, it is very warm and sunny enough to go to the beach! I really enjoy the relaxing atmosphere and great lifestyle... In October, I'm heading back to my favorite stage: In Stuttgart, at home!
See you very soon,
much love from Down Under