News

Big Changes at Bavarian State Ballet and Staatsballett Berlin


Big changes are afoot in Germany’s ballet scene, including director and dancer turnovers at two of the country’s high profile companies.

Staatsballett Berlin

At Staatsballett Berlin, artistic director Nacho Duato will leave at the end of his contract, which expires in 2019. Duato has served as the company’s artistic director for the past two years, but it hasn’t been smooth sailing. He’s faced some harsh criticism, and Staatsballett dancers went on strike over wage disputes under his leadership.

Duato has three years to plan his next move before co-directors Sasha Waltz and Johannes Öhman take over in 2019. Öhman has directed the Royal Swedish Ballet since 2011. Waltz currently leads and choreographs her own contemporary troupe, Sasha Waltz and Guests. She will share her time between the two companies. It’s unclear what steps the Royal Swedish Ballet will take when its director assumes executive and administrative responsibilities in Berlin. Waltz’s role will be more studio-oriented. She will set one of her works on the company annually and create three world premieres.

Waltz and Ohman. Photo by Davids/David Dormer via the Berliner.

 

Bavarian State Ballet

Meanwhile, in Munich, Igor Zelensky has begun his first season as artistic director of Bavarian State Ballet (Bayerisches Staatsballett). But the company looks a lot different than it did last season under his predecessor, Ivan Liška. That’s because a whopping 29 dancers have left the company, including international stars Lucia Lacarra and Marlon Dino.

Lacarra and Dino in Ben Stevenson's Three Preludes. Photo by Jack Devant via JackDevant.com

A statement released by the company in May declined to say whether the dancers left of their own volition or had been forced out by Zelensky. It’s fair to speculate that new leadership and mass dancer exoduses have a cause and effect relationship. For now, we know that many of the departing dancers have careers ahead of them. Lacarra and Dino said in the statement, “We will follow exciting projects and offers, that will take our career to another level, and which will be announced by us briefly.”

Bolstering the depleted Bavarian ranks are 10 new dancers, including a new husband-wife star couple who joined as principals: former Mariinsky dancers Maria Shirinkina and Vladimir Shklyarov. Former Norwegian National Ballet principal Osiel Gouneo (a Cuban expatriate with Carlos Acosta-sized talent) has also entered the top rank. Sergei Polunin, who danced under Zelensky at Stanislavsky Ballet, is a new guest artist along with (romantic partner) Natalia Osipova and also Svetlana Zakharova. Unlike the two women, Polunin’s guest status is listed as “permanent.”

Such major changes inevitably prompt speculation. We’ll be waiting for the dust to settle at the Bavarian State Ballet to see how the season progresses, and we look forward to watching how Staatsballett Berlin’s dancers will take to Waltz’s experimental choreography.

Osiel Gouneo. Photo by Nikolay Krusser via Dance Open Festival.

For more news on all things ballet, don’t miss a single issue.

popular
Angela Sterling, Courtesy of Pacific Northwest Ballet

Clear your schedule now for Monday, January 29th, 2:45PM (EST)/ 11:45AM (PST). Pacific Northwest Ballet will be live-streaming rehearsal from Kent Stowell's Swan Lake, straight from their Seattle, WA-based studios. To psych us up for their on stage performances February 2nd - 11th, PNB is letting us in on their Act II rehearsal.

From the corps of swans to Odette and Prince Siegfried's pas de deux, and the infamous four swans, this rehearsal is not to be missed. You can sign up now for a live-stream reminder on their site. In the meantime, we'll be brushing up on our Cygnets with this PNB sneak peek.

popular

Rigorous program, check. Well-rounded technical training, check. Purposeful liberal arts curriculum, check. Study your craft abroad, check! If you are looking for all the above, the Joan Phelps Palladino School of Dance at Dean College truly has it all.

Keep reading... Show less
Lopez in Circus Polka. Photo by Alexander Iziliaev, Courtesy MCB.

When Miami City Ballet artistic director Lourdes Lopez was a principal dancer at New York City Ballet, she missed her opportunity to honor Jerome Robbins onstage. "Every time there was a celebration for Jerry, I was either injured or had just retired," says Lopez. "I was never able to publicly thank him onstage for all that he taught us and the beauty he left us."

But when Lopez was planning MCB's Jerome Robbins Celebration for the 100th anniversary of the legend's birth, she saw an opportunity. She asked the Robbins Trust to allow her to perform the Ringmaster in Robbins' Circus Polka, a role the choreographer originated himself.

Keep reading at dancemagazine.com.

Summer Study Advice
Thinkstock.

Videos are a great alternative when auditioning in person isn't possible. Here are some general guidelines for making a good impression.

1. Follow directions. Before filming, research what each school you're interested in requires. "It demonstrates your ability to follow instructions, and schools pay attention to that," says Kate Lydon, artistic director of American Ballet Theatre's summer intensives and the ABT Studio Company. "If the guidelines haven't been followed, your video might not be watched the whole way through." You may need to make multiple versions to accommodate different schools.

2. Videos should be no longer than 10 minutes. "Keep it short, simple and direct," advises Philip Neal, dance department chair at The Patel Conservatory and artistic director of Next Generation Ballet. "You have to be sensitive to how much time the director has to sit down and look at it." Barre can be abbreviated, showing only one side per exercise, alternating. Directors will be looking at fundamentals—placement, turnout, leg lines, stability—but don't ignore musicality or movement quality. Make sure music choices match combinations and are correctly synced in the footage.

Keep reading... Show less
Career
Thinkstock

I want to be a professional dancer, but my parents won't listen. They either don't think I can do it (contrary to what my teachers have said) or they won't let me take the necessary steps to become a professional. Please help. —Audrey

Keep reading... Show less
Videos

They say that pigeons mate for life—perhaps that's why these birds naturally symbolize the young lovers in Sir Frederick Ashton's The Two Pigeons. In these two clips from a 1987 performance in Pisa, Alessandra Ferri and Robert LaFosse—then stars with American Ballet Theatre and New York City Ballet, respectively—dance a rapturous pas de deux at the end of Act II. With tiny pricks of her feet and bird-like flaps of her elbows in Part 1, Ferri marks her anguish, thinking she's been abandoned for another woman. Later, both she and LaFosse grow more and more entangled as they reconcile, Ferri dancing with the passionate abandon she's famous for. I love how in Part 2 (0:20), they can't seem to get enough of each other as their necks arch and intertwine. At the end of the ballet, two pigeons fly in to perch symbolically on the chair—er, there's supposed to be two. It looks like one missed its cue at this performance! No matter—Ferri and LaFosse's dancing make it clear that these young lovers are meant to be together for life. Happy #TBT!

Keep reading... Show less
Summer Study Advice
The author at 13, rehearsing at her home studio, Ballet Arts Theater, in Endicott, NY. Courtesy McGuire.

This story originally appeared in the December 2010/January 2011 issue of Pointe.

As a young student at a small ballet school in upstate New York, I was obsessed with getting into the School of American Ballet. From the age of 10, I entered class each day with the ultimate goal of studying at SAB dangling before me like a carrot on a stick. Every effort I made, every extra class I took was for the sole purpose of getting into what I thought was the only ballet school that really mattered.

I auditioned for SAB's summer program for the first time when I was 12. In the weeks that followed, I became a vulture hovering over my family's mail, squawking at my mother if the day's letters were not presented for my inspection when I walked through the door. The day the letter finally arrived, it was thin and limp. I cried for a week as I dealt with the crushing feeling of rejection for one of the first times in my life.

My mind filled with questions and self-doubt. What was wrong with me? Why wasn't I good enough? I figured I must be too fat, too slow, my feet too flat. I had worked so hard. I had wished on every fallen eyelash and dead dandelion in pursuit of my single goal, just to have a three-paragraph form letter conclude that I was a failure. For a while, I let myself wallow in the comfort of my resentment, content to believe that success should have come easily, and that to fall was the same as to fail.

Keep reading... Show less

Sponsored

Videos

Sponsored

mailbox

Get Pointe Magazine in your inbox

Sponsored

Win It!