Ballet Premiere of »White Darkness« on 3 June 2023

From 3 June 2023, the Semperoper invites its audience to take a look back over recent dance history with a ballet evening entitled »White Darkness«. In their new multi-part ballet, the company of Semperoper Ballett are presenting works by three leading international choreographers, William Forsythe, Sharon Eyal and Nacho Duato, all of which display a unique sensibility and astonishing diversity of gesture and movement within the multifaceted realm of contemporary dance.

The evening opens with »The Second Detail« by William Forsythe, one of the most important contemporary choreographers and founder of The Forsythe Company. This piece, which premiered in Canada in 1991, is already considered a modern classic. Drawing on the paradigms of classical ballet, Forsythe is also influenced by the language of neo-classical and expressive dance in a thrilling work that culminates with an ironic twist. The sensuality of this synaesthetic masterpiece is heightened by the female soloist’s costume, created by star designer Issey Miyake, as well as the specially arranged score by Dutch composer and electronic music specialist Thom Willems.

The evening’s second piece, »Half Life«, gives Semperoper audiences a first chance to acquaint themselves with the work of Israeli choreographer Sharon Eyal. A former dancer and in-house choreographer of the Batsheva Dance Company and co-founder of the ensemble L-E-V, she is one of the leading figures in contemporary dance. In her work, created in 2017 for Stockholm’s Royal Swedish Ballet, she propels the dancers to the physical limits of individual expression before allowing the ensemble to merge into a homophonic dynamic organism, moving to the beats of musician Ori Lichtik, one of the founding fathers of Israel’s techno scene.

The ballet evening concludes with the title piece, »White Darkness«, by Spain’s Nacho Duato, who has received international accolades for his work, including the »Prix Benois de la Danse for Best Choreographer«. His dance requiem, created during a period of mourning for his late sister, was premiered in 2001 by the Compañía Nacional de Danza Madrid. This is an intense story of love, the pain of loss and suffering, but also the search for joy in life and hope in dance. The music for »White Darkness« was created by Karl Jenkins, one of the most popular composers in the field of classical crossover, World and New Age music. As a former member of the jazz-rock group »Soft Machine« and a musician honoured around the world with several doctorates, the Welshman’s back catalogue includes many silver-, gold- and platinum-selling recordings. 

The opening performance of the ballet evening »White Darkness« on 3 June 2023 will be Semperoper Ballett’s final premiere under Canadian director Aaron S. Watkin, who, at the end of the 2022/23 season, leaves the city of Dresden. During his 17-year tenure, he has significantly shaped both the company and its artistic repertoire. Following the premiere, the Semperoper will bid farewell to Watkin at a special event to celebrate his artistic contribution to the Semperoper Ballett and the Saxon state capital Dresden as an international centre of culture. The Minister of State for Culture and Tourism, Barbara Klepsch, will speak at the event.

Dates and Tickets

Photo: Premiere motif of »White Darkness« © Rosemarie Trockel, Courtesy Sprüth Magers, VG Bild-Kunst Bonn 2022
The motif is part of the artistic concept for the premiere posters 2022/23 with a series of works by Rosemarie Trockel.