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Maria Eichwald charity gala 15.6.03

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I was hoping so much someone would report since I have been madly busy at work – but ok, here we go again after quite a long pause… (and I apologize this again has got so long!) ;)

Together with her partner Oleg Makhov, former dancer of Bayerisches Staatsballett and now working for an event service, Maria Eichwald invited to a gala for the aid of cancer research, especially for children (sorry, I miss the accurat terms in English).

This gala obviously had some personal background (I read that a friend of Oleg had died of cancer), plus it was also considered a sort of advanced farewell gift of Maria who will leave Munich for Stuttgart end of this year.

Tickets were quite expensive (ranging from 50-120 Euro) – but fortunately they sold well so of the 1000 seats of the Prinzregententheater not too many remained empty. Plus there was an orchestra for most pieces – I have been to expensive galas where the music was taped!

Maria danced four times, twice with each of her main partners in Munich, Alen Bottaini and Lukas Slavicky. She danced everything with huge energy, but without visible effort – and she seemed to have chosen her top favourites… (Although I felt a bit sorry as I would have hoped for her attempting the “Dying Swan”…).

The programme was a mixture of classical and modern pieces as one would expect from a gala – and I am terribly sorry if my memory has some blanks and names may be spelled incorrectly or mistaken!

1) Diana & Acteon pdd

Maria Eichwald – Alen Bottaini

Big Applause when Maria leaped on stage – which seemed slippery, but she soon got used to it. Alen looked good – but I could not help compare him to Carlos Acosta who danced this part some time ago in another Munich gala – well, there was a bit of a difference… Still nice that he attempted it – plus the rapport with Maria of course was very nice.

2) Intuition Blast

Norbert Graf – Udo Kersten

This is always good fun in a gala – Amilcar Moret guested elsewhere, so Udo Kersten took over – and they had such fun on stage…! Although I do love Swan Lake, I must admit what Ralf Jaroschinski has put on the waltz and on the little cygnet always makes me laugh – especially when danced with such joy. For those who do not know this yet: It’s for two boys who start to “groove” to the music and try to compete in a sort of streetdance, with quite a bit of the success depending on their mime but also on improvisation.

3) Giselle pdd

Larissa Lezhnina – Tamas Nagy (replacing Viacheslav Samodurov)

WOW – this was a real Giselle! Her port de bras were so soft, floating gently – while here leaps looked effortless and incredibly high and were landed without any noise. Tamas Nagy was ok – would have loved to see Viacheslav Samodourov, but he was replaced last minute.

4) Deja Vu

Beate Vollack – Norbert Graf

Well, this is not one of my favourites, I must admit – but it was a nice modern break.

5) Grand Pas Classique

Maria Eichwald – Lukas Slavicky

Another bravoura piece where both showed off – nice finale of the first part.

- interval –

6) Kameliendame 3rd pdd

Maria Eichwald – Alen Bottaini

Wondering why they chose the third pdd which I find a bit difficult if danced separately – maybe because this is to piano solo and does not need full orchestra? But still it was amazing how both got in the roles of the desparate lovers in no time – huge applause.

7) Le Corsaire pdd

Barbora Kohoutkova - Stanislav Feco

While she has already left the company, Barbora came back for this gala. I was a bit surprised that she chose such a bravoura showpiece – but she did well. Her partner seemed to struggle a bit with the technique – but again, my personal problem was that I compared them with Lopatkina/Zelensky which I should not have done as I missed the effortless bravoura and the “sparkle” of this pdd…

8) Nutcracker pdd

Larissa Lezhnina – Tamas Nagy

In a classical version, not the one I know from Neumeier – they only danced the adagio, as a programme change to something modern planned previously. In one lift he almost dropped her – don’ t think they had much time to rehearse – and she looked very professional, plus also happy to be able to dance at all.

9) Les Bourgeois

Alen Bottaini

Ok, another typical showpiece that always brings the house down – especially when performed as charmingly as Alen did.

10) Passomezzo

Yael Schnell - Jesper Hansen Thirup

Had not seen this before – a lot of energy and good fun on stage!

11) Tarantella

Maria Eichwald – Lukas Slavicky

What a finale! Sorry, cannot remember the choreographer – the music was by Gottschalk, and it was just right as last piece of the evening. Both danced their socks off – and it’s not often that I have seen grand jetés performed so simultaneously by a couple!

Lots of applause and flowers for a great night. I was relieved to see such effort rewarded by a big success and will be so sorry to see Maria go end of this year – but Stuttgart is not that far away from Munich…!


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Hi! I wondered what happened to you -- don't work to hard: Thank you for this -- and thank you for taking the time to make it so long, Jasper. We count on you to let us know what's going on in a company and place most of us don't have the chance to see. Don't be a stranger! :D

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Thanks for reporting in, Jasper.

It could have been someone else's, but I'm guessing she did George Balanchine's Tarantella.

It's funny what is very familiar here (Tarantella) and what I don't think we see at all in the US (Le Bourgeois). Do you know who did the choreography for that and is it from a larger ballet?

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Thanks, Alexandra and Leigh!

And: All Luca Masala Fans (in Europe there are quite a few) - please forgive me! He did dance in this gala, and he and his partner Maria Gutierrez were lovely - it's just that their pieces were so unfamiliar to me!! ("Gambling Stones" by Jean-Christophe Blavier and "La Chanson des vieux amants" by Ben van Cauwenbergh (sp??) ) Sorry, folks, did not mean to drop this!

"Les Bourgeois" is a single, short piece danced to a song by Jacques Brel. Choreographer is also van Cauwenbergh. It's a solo that interprets the words of the song pretty well - a young student blaming "les bourgeois" while getting drunk...

The tarantella was NOT by Balanchine (I did expect that, too) - will have to check my programme (don't have it with me, again :-()

Déjà vu is one of the less popular works by van Manen (I would say) - it's a bit same theme as Sarcasmen, some movements also reminded me of that pdd.

Passomezzo is by Ohad Naharin - sorry, don't know much more about him;

and Intuition Blast is the big success of a German choreographer who has won several awards with this, but honestly, so far this is the only success he has had I can remember.

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Which one is the third Pas de deux of Kameliendame? I know the ballet quite well, but I don't count the pas de deux, so I don't know which is the third one.

Ohad Naharin was born in Israel in 1952 and worked in New York with Martha Graham. He then danced with Béjart's company and later started choreographing in 1980. He then worked with Kylian and now has his own company.

I can't say much more about him, since I have never seen any of his ballets, even though one of them was danced by the Paris Opera a few years ago.

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I haven't seen "Les Bourgeois", but it was performed several times in some Jeune Ballet de France performances. Ben van Cauwenbergh seems to be a fan of Jacques Brel, as "La chanson des vieux amants" is another song my him...

Is Luca Masala still dancing with the Toulouse ballet?

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Ohad Naharin was the highly successful director of the Bat Sheva Company for over 10 years - he has just resigned as artistic director - and his choreography forms a large part of the repertoire.

Alexandra, I know that his work is performed by ballet companies but it is definitely modern... His style is usually very fast and athletic. I don't believe I've ever seen Passomezzo though.

The dancers' names, Yael Schnell and Jesper Thirup, sound familiar to me as Bat Sheva dancers but I'll have to check my programmes at home to make sure.

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Su-Lian, the third pdd of Kameliendame is the one where Marguerite returns to Armand after he has hurt her so much when flirting with Olympia in the streets of Paris, and she asks him to stop such behaviour. They find together one last time - but when Armand falls asleep, Marguerite leaves him, remembering her promise to Armand's father.

Estelle, Luca Masala was listed in the programme as member of the Toulouse Ballet, so I assume he is still dancing there.

GWTW, you're fully right about Bat Sheva!

Thanks to you all for sheding more light on the parts that were so unfamiliar to me!

And - finally I have checked my programme; the tarantella was listed as "Chor.: Valentina Savina/trad." - whatever that means...

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Thanks Jasper! So it was the one I was thinking about, but I wasn't sure. I really love the piece they dance to as well: Chopin's 1rst Ballad, it was the piece that Chopin himself prefered amongst the ones he composed. It reminded him of "home", and in fact, it now sometimes has the subtitle "polish", but I don't think Chopin himself gave it this name, it was added later. (And I finally got round to play it myself! I've got to play it at my teacher's place next friday, but I'm not ready. :) Sorry for going off topic, but it's just to say that this piece as absolutely fantastic.)

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Thanks! I hope so too, because I haven't even really practised it on the teacher's piano!

One question since we're on the Munich forum, is it still Ivan Liska the director? I heard that he's quite a good at this job and he has been successful. What do you think?

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su-lian, sorry for my delay in reply!

Yes, Ivan Liska is still Artistic Director in Munich. How would you judge if an AD is successful? Most performances sell really well here, if that is a parameter. Some dancers will leave by the end of the season - but that's normal, I would say. Quality of performances is very difficult to rate and a matter of personal taste. As an addict of story-telling ballets I am happy we do have a lot of them; I do understand dancers ask for new choreographies, and from that point of view, some of the previous experiments with new choreographers have not been very lucky - but this is general problem and topic for another post, I would say...

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