It's not every day that a company presents a work so original, both in concept and execution, with dancers so well suited to its unique strengths, as Stuttgart Ballet in Christian Spuck's revival of Lulu. A Monstre Tragedy. Spuck, now artistic director at Zurich Ballet, choreographed the ballet while resident choreographer of Stuttgart Ballet in 2003.
Amatriain (center) with members of Stuttgart Ballet. Photo Courtesy Stuttgart Ballet.
Alicia Amatriain, who originated the title role, is the work's throbbing heartbeat. Her Lulu is raw, with lanky and pulsing movements and a questionable moral compass. The score, an artful compilation of works by Dmitri Shostakovich, Alban Berg and Arnold Schönberg, alternates between sweeping waltzes, reeling circus jaunts and sultry cabaret stints, while dancers adapt to Spuck's wavelike movement with stylish ease. But it's the atmosphere that transforms the dancing into a living work of art. Spuck's turn-of-the-century world is smoky and disheveled—a sea of leering faces and blurry eyes. The story is told as a whirlwind of cameos that achieve dreamlike and grotesque confusion. Revived for artistic director Reid Anderson's final season, Lulu's reworked choreography and fresh take artfully signify how Stuttgart's dancers can sink their teeth into the unknown.