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„Swan Lake“ in... Unterhaching

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Well, basically it’s nothing too extraordinary if some ambitious choreographer wants to stage this ballet and generally I am not too keen to watch some semi-amateurish dancers squeezing on a tiny stage dancing to taped music – but what caught my eye was the cast list which included Alen Bottaini as Siegfried plus two more dancers from Bayerisches Staatsballett (BSB; Patrick Teschner, Vincent Loermans).

The Company is called “Ballet Classique”, and although I don’t know much about the dancers, I figured out that there are some former members of BSB like Daniela Lungeanu or Elodie Lavoignat and some dancers of the second Munich company BallettTheater Munich.

And I was surprised to see how well this was staged on a really small stage (choreography: Rosina Kovacz-Pop, former dancer in Munich). Costumes were generally simple but ok (Siegfried’s costume for act III and IV strongly reminded me of the BSB production…), there was one scenic backcloth – only shame that there were no spotlights, so part of the dancing was really dark. There were 12 swans as corps de ballet who did well; Daniela Lungeanu tackled Odette/Odile – she was ok, and I liked her attack as Odile a lot. The three guys who are used to the huge stage and auditorium of Nationaltheater sometimes looked far beyond the back wall of the room (as they are used to dress circle height) and although most of the big leaps had been taken out, even some assembles landed partly in the wings. But what counted was the joy – especially Patrick Teschner won everyone’s heart as a charming Benno. Alen Bottaini was a good partner (who had not much else to do ;) ) – and he and Vincent Loermans had good fun in the final fight which in this version leads to a happy ending with Rotbart’s power being destroyed.

A note on the audience – it seemed to consist basically of two groups: Those residents of Unterhaching (a suburb of Munich) who come to the venue no matter what is performed (a lot of them seemed to be “first time ballet goers” as I took from some remarks, for example: “Look, she stands on her toes – that must be sooo painful….”) – and dancer/teacher colleagues of the dancers on stage. I noticed quite a few faces of BSB, but also some teachers from Munich ballet schools.

Having seen this, I must correct my attitude towards such “small scale productions” of classics – if they are done in such a professional way, why not – and maybe one or another now feels attracted to the art of ballet and finds his/her way to other performances – people who would never have ventured to watch a performance in the huge Nationaltheater?

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