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BalletmainzWhat kind of company is it?


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#1 Estelle

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Posted 04 September 2004 - 01:25 PM

The German company Balletmainz will perform in Lyon in a few weeks, during the Biennale de la Danse. As far as I know, it had never toured to France before, and was I wondering about what kind of company it is... It will perform an evening length work by
Martin Schläpfer, "Kunst fer Fuge", on Bach's music. The program notes only say that Schläpfer comes from Switzerland and has been a dancer with the Basel Ballet (direction Hans Spoerli) and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and then artistic director of the Bern Ballet, and then in Mainz. So at least that means that he had a career as a classical ballet dancer. Has anybody heard about that company and that choreographer?

#2 Alexandra

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Posted 04 September 2004 - 01:48 PM

I haven't seen them -- we get very little European dance in DC, especially the smaller companies. Here's a link to their page (English version)

http://www.staatsthe...allgem_eng.html


It describes the repertory as mainly neoclassical and contemporary. It's a small company, 20 dancers.

#3 diane

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Posted 06 September 2004 - 11:45 AM

I have seen them, though only once. I was impressed because of what they do with what they have.
I respect Schläpfer for trying to get good quality ballet to one of the smaller theaters and companies and also for using dancers who do not always completely fit the picture of the typical classical ballet dancer. Most of his dancers are very good, as far as I could tell during just one performance.

They do a lot of contemporary (modern) work too, of course, which is almost a given nowadays, especially here.

I did like his choreography, though usually I get bored with much of contemporary dance. His tended to have more "reason" behind the movement, if you see what I mean. It is always nice if one has the impression that the dancers know why they are doing what they do onstage.

Schläpfer has brought several Balanchine pieces to Mainz for his company to dance.
That is also important - I think - for a company to do. (not just Balanchine, but any number of different choregraphers. this is not always possible due to budgets and of course often the sad fact that many co.s cannot dance many things)

Let me know what you think if and when you do see them.

-d-

#4 Estelle

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Posted 07 September 2004 - 06:05 AM

Thanks for your answers, Alexandra and diane. That sounds quite interesting, especially as there is so little ballet to be seen in this festival, and also small ballet companies need to be encouraged. I don't know yet if I can manage to see some performances (and having to wake up every weekday at 5:30 PM because of my new schedule doesn't help :wacko:) but I'll try.

#5 Estelle

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Posted 22 September 2004 - 12:29 PM

Well, I attended a performance of it tonight- and my main feeling is that staying at home would have made me save some time and money :(

I was so disappointed by that program that I actually left at the intermission, something which almost never happened to me. I found the choreography really dull,
with alsmot no link with Bach's music (which actually sounded somewhat soporific- but perhaps it'd have sounded different with a better choreography), and no recognizable style (a lot of running, walking and crawling sprinkled with a few ballet steps, and some pas de deux which mostly looked like some acrobatic competition with ugly looking lifts). I especially hated the costumes: not two of them were the same, but all of them had rather sad greyish-black-blueish colors, most were assymetric (for example a dancer with a unitard but with one bare leg and one bare arm), and all were especially unflattering for the dancers' lines: for example, try to imagine a tall male dancer with a shaved head, wearing a sort of transparent (black with dots, like some kind of widow's veil) long dress, revealing some black underwear and a sort of black tie- not exactly good looking. The sets were almost unexisting (four large horizontal colored stripes) and the lighting was about as dull as the choreography. There also were some dialogues in... Japanese, and I wonder how the audience was supposed to interpret that.

On the whole, that was a really boring evening, and after the 50-minute long first part, I decided that it was enough and preferred to leave. :( And all that was all the more frustrating for me as I hadn't been able to book a seat in advance (managing to get the Biennale's standard on the phone seems to be nearly impossible, and their answering machine makes one wait forever), I had bought a ticket at the last minute at the box office, but there were only tickets in the two most expensive categories, and so I spent more that expected- only to get a seat very far from the stage with a not especially good sight line (the Lyon Opera doesn't have a convenient shape, and its room is very very high) and to notice later that there wer literally tenths of empty seats in the cheapest categories. I do hope that it's not a deliberate policy to sell only expensive seats and that it was just a lot of people didn't show up, but I regret they couldn't sell those seats, and really the ballet wasn't worth the expense. :angry:

#6 diane

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Posted 23 September 2004 - 01:04 AM

:( That is too bad, Estelle, that the performance was not what you would have liked.
The way you describe the choreography is not really what I remember having seen, either.

Who knows what the reasons are, why the co. decided to show those things, and not something else? :shrug:

That is truly annoying that the ticket-situation was also so abominable. I can see why you are upset.

-d-


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