30 November 2019

Maggie Foyer

Creation l-lll, presented at the Schauspielhaus, was an evening of optimism for the future of ballet. It brought together dance, design and music of heightened creativity, delivered by dancers with the artistry and ability to bring these ideas to life in an exciting evening of new dance.

Roman Novitzky’s Impuls: Ensemble, Marc Strobel
Photo: Stuttgarter Ballett

The three works by young male choreographers, took very different approaches. Roman Novitzky’s Impuls was a work with the music firmly embedded in the dance. Percussionist/ composer, Marc Strobel took his place on the stage, and remained there for the duration, the physicality of his playing integrating him into the dance. The design and lighting, by Yaron Abulafia, also assumed a prominent role effectively shaping the physical dimensions of the stage.

Within this quality setting, the dance held prominence through constantly shifting moods. For the men, Novitzky had written fiery athletic material and Adhonay Soares da Silva and Ciro Ernesto Mansilla excelled, particularly in a quite spectacular male duet that moved seamlessly between floor and air. But it was Vittoria Girelli who was the lynchpin maintaining, with quiet authority, a central position and moving with effortless ease through the complex choreography. Each of the cast of seven had challenging material and what superb dancers they are, holding attention every moment.

Andreas Heise’s Lamento 16: Hyo-Jung Kang, Martí Fernández Paixà
Photo: Stuttgarter Ballett

Andreas Heise, the only choreographer from outside the Stuttgart Ballet, offered Lamento. In this work he moves the focus inwards and explores the relationship between Ulysses and Penelope, the protagonists in Homer’s eponymous poem. While non-narrative, Lamento is essentially character driven, as Heise ignores the heroics of Ulysses epic voyage to concentrate on the passions that pulse between the two. Their final meeting, rich with subtext, evolves as two mature adults renew their love from a new and different perspective.  The final duet, with Hyo-Jung Kang and Marti Fernández Paixà, reaches the depths of the story of longing and loneliness in a final shared moment as they walk forward holding hands before Ulysses turns back, leaving Penelope alone once more.

As composer Bjarte Elke draws inspiration from Claudio Monteverdi to write in his new Baroque style, so Heise melds the ancient tale and contemporary ballet to find his personal language. It is fresh and spontaneous, finding a natural expression for emotions in the movement. Ulysses is the archetypal hero and Penelope the faithful strong woman but Heise explores far more subtle interpretations. The emotion flows freely rather then in linear form and different meetings inspire new feelings and heighten passions. A red dress and a red jacket signify the protagonists, and these are shared and discarded as the threads of narrative weave through the work. There are pairings, or tripling of a character to intensify the quality. It is a clever device in a work that is never less than honest to itself.

Fabio Adorisio’s Calma Apparente: Elisa Badenes, Shaked Heller
Photo: Stuttgarter Ballett

Calma Apparente, by Fabio Adorisio, was the most theatrical work of the evening. Inspired by nature, in collaboration with designer, Thomas Mika, the theme is visualised in huge swathes of cloth. In the opening scene, it is part of the dancer’s costume and part of the set. Later a cloud of grey fabric drops to create a new hilly terrain for the dancers and finally all are enveloped in falling cloth.

The music is a diverse mix ranging from a Handel minuet to Bryce Dessner’s compelling, Little Blue Something and the atmospheric sounds of Kevin Keller’s Battleground. The style is distinctive with arm patterns that seem to semaphore messages across the stage. Bodies in beautifully shaded and styled blue leotards move in sinuous fashion free from narrative restraints while creating a heady ambiance. In a committed team of dancers Elisa Badenes is a constant delight. Three very different works that together make an exhilarating evening of dance.