Breaking down the borders that traditionally exist between classical and contemporary dance and redefining dance as a culmination of both.«
(Aaron S. Watkin)
Welcome to our exciting new season 2013/14 and our 8th season as the Semperoper Ballett under my direction. I am very proud to announce our three premiere programs the first of which is »Nordic Lights« with it’s premiere on our main stage on October 25th, 2013. My original idea was to invite three Scandinavian choreographers to create this program, in the end it has become an »All Swedish evening of dance«. Of these three choreographers, two will work with us for the first time. To open, we have a creation by Pontus Lidberg to a new composition by the world-renowned British composer, Max Richter. Pontus’s creation is inspired by the love poems of the prominent 13th century Persian poet Rumi. The next part of this evening will highlight the one choreographer that we have already had the pleasure of working with, Johan Inger, with his outstanding signature work »Walking Mad« set to the music of Maurice Ravel’s iconic Bolero, completed with music by Arvo Pärt. The piece has a lot of humour but also has a serious undertone and is about the relationships of three women with themselves and men that appear in their lives. We will close this evening with the brilliant & internationally acclaimed »Cacti« by one of the worlds most prominent young dance talents, Alexander Ekman. This work gently pokes fun with humour & verve at the pretentions of dance.
As part of our »On the move« program, our next premiere »Choreographers« will be held at the Volkswagen’s Transparent Manufactory (Die Gläserne Manufaktur von Volkswagen) on January 26th, 2014. I have chosen three talented choreographers to create especially for this unique space. Two of these choreographers, Caroline Beach and Claudio Cangialosi, are Soloists in our company and are both discovered talents from our »Young Choreographers« over the past years. The third choreographer, Sjoerd Vreugdenhil is from outside our house and was a former Soloist with Ballett Frankfurt under the direction of William Forsythe. Sjoerd is Dutch and has been Choreographer/Director of a project-based company in Amsterdam for the past 10 years.
Our final premiere of the season »Legends – Homage to Richard Strauss« is on June 28th, 2014 here at the Semperoper and will be our contribution to our house’s celebration of Richard Strauss’s 150th birthday. Strauss is hugely respected and adored by our public and orchestra alike having himself been the conductor of our Staatskapelle very often. For this special anniversary I have commissioned two world premieres created to Strauss and played live by our impeccable Staatskapelle. The first creation is by one on the most sought after choreographers of today, Alexei Ratmansky, to Strauss’s Divertimento Op. 86 and is inspired by this baroque dance suite from the »Verklungene Feste«. We close the evening with Strauss’s masterpiece »The Legend of Joseph«. For this monumental piece, I have given this opportunity to a well-known choreographer to our house, Stijn Celis of whom we now have four existing works in our repertoire.
From February 15th to 25rd, we will be participating in the 4th Biennale of Dance Education, to be hosted for the first time in Dresden by the Palucca Hochschule für Tanz Dresden under the Rector Professor Jason Beechey. Uniquely, this year’s Biennale will not only be a meeting and exchange program for German Dance Schools and Universities but also for dance educational institutions on an international level and several of the most reputable Dance schools in the world today will come to participate. Our company will perform three different programs from our current repertoire including »An Evening with the Works of William Forsythe«, »Bella Figura« and newly created »Romeo and Juliet« by Stijn Celis.
This season from our existing repertoire we will present »The Sleeping Beauty«, »Swan Lake«, »The Nutcracker«, as well as our unique productions of Michael Tucker’s »The Lost Diary« for our Young Scene, »Romeo and Juliet« by Stijn Celis, and David Dawson’s »Giselle« all of which were created for our company. Dawson’ sublime »The Grey Area« will return as part of our »Bella Figura« program together with Jiří Kylián’s »Bella Figura« and Ohad Naharin’s »Minus 16«. One of our most popular programs with our audience »An Evening with the Works of William Forsythe« will also return. All in all ten programs, including eight premieres for our company and six world premieres.
We had the pleasure of touring together with The Forsythe Company to Weimar, Germany to perform in the »Pèlerinages Art Festival« on September 12th, 2013. The Forsythe Company performed the first two works and we closed the evening with Forsythe’s »Enemy in the Figure« – an amazing and inspiring experience for everyone, dancers & public!
And last but not least, I am happy to have the exquisite Prima Ballerina Polina Semionova back guesting with us for our Christmas performance of »The Nutcracker« and both Dmitry Semionov and István Simon as Resident Guest Principals throughout the season.
With warm regards,
Aaron Sean Watkin