- Starting Time: 7 pm
- Two intermissions
Venue: Semperoper Dresden
Free introductory talk
- held in the Semper Opera House cellar 45 minutes before curtain-up
Post-Show Discussion following the performance (free admission).
Similar to a theatre play, a film »plot« is divided into several dramaturgical units. In this context, the magic number »three« is a preferred pattern in libretto and screenplay writing. Thus, cinematic suspense is composed of exposition, confrontation and resolution. These sections are separated from each other by so-called »plot points«. By presenting three different choreographies, whose common thread is characterised by the aesthetics of the neoclassical, symphonic ballets of the 20th century, the Semperoper Ballett’s new mixed bill will illustrate this guiding idea too.
The triple-bill opens with George Balanchine’s »Serenade«: by portraying ballerinas in floor-length light blue tulle dresses in a strictly geometrical choreography to Tchaikovsky’s »Serenade for Strings«, Mr Balanchine’s 1935 work diffuses the atmosphere of the »white acts« as shown in classical narrative ballets. In this way, it bridges to abstract neoclassical ballet and new forms of body expression. This is creation is followed by »Plot Point« by Crystal Pite, who presents herself as well as her 2010 choreography at Semperoper for the very first time. Based on Bernard Herrmann’s score for »Psycho« (1960) – completed by additional soundtrack by Owen Belton – the Canadian asks what cinematic narrative can look like in dance today. US choreographer Twyla Tharp premieres with another creation by presenting her work »In The Upper Room« (1986). Accompanied by the commissioned composition by Philip Glass, the company once again demonstrates its enormous body control by performing not only ballet but also a variety of physical techniques such as boxing, yoga and tap dancing, and thus rounds off the ballet evening in this varied way.
The first part of the evening will be George Balanchine's symphonic ballet »Serenade« (1935), whose title is taken from its music by Peter I. Tchaikovsky, the four-movement Serenade for Strings in C major, op. 48. As a choreography for the students of the School of American Ballet, which Balanchine co-founded, and as his first ballet created in the USA, »Serenade« still represents a significant point in his oeuvre, whose fascination continues to this day. Although Mr Balanchine’s choreography is not a narrative work, it cannot be considered completely abstract, since it involves certain constellations of relationships and emotional tensions between the dancers. »Serenade« presents the ensemble in blue costumes with a matching set design and represents a homage to the ›white ballets‹ of French-Russian Romanticism. This impression is also reinforced by the ballerinas in their long, light-colored tulle skirts and pointe shoes.
The middle section of this mixed bill, which also gives its title to the series, is presented by Canadian choreographer Crystal Pite who is making her choreographic debut at the Semperoper with »Plot Point«. Driven by the idea of the ›plot point‹, Ms Pite now brings a contemporary ballet creation to the stage, »Plot Point« (2010). Here the choreographer is chiefly concerned with the narrative possibilities of music, its ability to portray a pictorial storyboard: through extreme movements that challenge the body to its utmost elasticity, Ms Pite contrasts single-colored, doll-like ›types‹ with multi-layered ›characters‹ whose aliveness is rendered visual through colorful costumes and rich dramatic diversity. The starting point for »Plot Point« is Bernard Herrmann’s film score for »Psycho« (1960), from which audiences certainly recall the ›razor-sharp‹, squeaking string chords from the famous shower scene.
»In The Upper Room«
In 1986, US choreographer Twyla Tharp commissioned the minimalist soundscape composer Philip Glass with an orchestral work for a new creation: »In The Upper Room (aka Dancer's Notebook #1-9)« offers its dancers scope to perform a wide range of physical techniques. In nine vibrant scenes, defined by a powerful movement vocabulary, ballet meets tap dance, boxing and yoga. The variety of steps and a refined sense of time-rhythm demand both body control and fitness on part of the company. This variety is also represented by the multifaceted costume design, which, in the course of the piece, develops a dynamic that matches with Ms Tharp’s style. The sensual component of this choreography is rounded off by the thought-out combination of light and haze effects. Due to its ethereal effect, this dance work has since become a repertoire classic of many international companies. In the 2023/24 season, the international ballet star will present one of her works at the Semperoper for the first time.