The triple bill SHADES OF BLUE AND WHITE showcases three very different facets of classical ballet. This choreographically as well as musically outstanding evening shows just how versatile the art form can be.
SHADES OF BLUE AND WHITE opens with "The Kingdom of the Shades" from La Bayadère. In Natalia Makarova's world-famous version based on Marius Petipa's original choreography from 1877, a long line of dancers glides, one after the other, down a ramp before wafting across the stage in dreamlike unison. Surrounded by this heavenly corps de ballet, the spirit of the temple dancer Nikia dances with her lover, the warrior Solo, who, in attempt to drown his sorrow over her death, has smoked opium, resulting in his vision of the “shade” of his beloved. This magical scene is among the most exquisite that classical ballet has to offer.
The second work of the evening catapults the audience from the 19th century into the 21st. In 2016, William Forsythe, former resident choreographer of the Stuttgart Ballet and director of the legendary Ballett Frankfurt, created Blake Works I to the bluesy-jazzy music of singer-songwriter James Blake. As if he had distilled his vast knowledge of ballet into 30 breath-taking minutes, the piece encompasses all the facets which make Forsythe one of the most revered choreographers in the world today. The piece is a love-letter to classical ballet as only William Forsythe can write it: cool, nonchalant, hip, beautiful and brilliant. Needless to say, dancers love dancing it and audiences watching it.
The evening closes with a neo-classical work. In 1991, Uwe Scholz created his Seventh Symphony to Ludwig van Beethoven's eponymous composition for the Stuttgart Ballet. Whereas most choreographers shy away from this titan of classical music, Scholz boldly translated Beethoven’s majestic, rousing and exuberant music into dance. On stage, the structure and composition of the two works combine to create an exemplary symbiosis. Scholz's radiant, energetic and technically challenging choreography - seldom seen outside of Stuttgart but one of the most popular ballets in the Stuttgart Ballet repertoire- returns to the stage for the first time in almost a decade.