The horizon is merely an imaginary line, existing only in the eye of the beholder, says Staatsballett Berlin artistic director Nacho Duato. “This is where, for me, the medium of dance is situated. Dance as a performing art form is, like the horizon, the imaginary line connecting the perceived reality and imagination of each individual; choreographies play with familiar habits of viewing and are visualized utopias – in any case, they shift the observer’s horizon and alter their view of the world.”
Finding new horizons for classical ballet and its audience is his aim in Berlin, and his programme for 2016-2017 certainly includes a wide range of choreographers and styles in fourteen programmes, from Patrice Bart and John Cranko, through Kylián and Duato himself, Millepied and Maillot, to Hofesh Shechter. ‘Eclectic’ barely does it justice.
Christmas comes early in Berlin as, following his own take on The Sleeping Beauty (also to be performed in the autumn), the coming season sees Duato turn his attention to The Nutcracker. Due to premiere in early October, he promises a work true to the language of classical ballet but enhanced in his own signature style.
Out and out classical ballet puts in appearances in the form of Bart’s production of that classical ballet of classical ballets, Swan Lake. There’s also his Giselle, and Cranko’s Onegin.
In April there’s another Duato premiere, as yet unnamed. If it needed proving that the Staatsballett can dance almost any style these days, it’s paired with Shechter’s typically angry and loud, The Art of Not Looking Back.
Modern French ballet takes to the stage in January with the Maillot|Millepied programme of Altro Canto by Jean-Christophe Maillot and Daphnis et Chloé by recently departed director of the Paris Opera Ballet, Benjamin Millepied. Both ballets are being danced in Germany for the first time.
Elsewhere in the season there is the classical elegance of Balanchine’s Jewels and two Duato- Jiří Kylián triple bills. There’s more Duato with the return of Herrumbre, for which his starting point was a photograph of the US-American detention camp Guantanamo, and in which he seeks to transform the images of violence spread by the media into movement. There’s also the return of Forms of Multiplicity and Silence, a tribute to composer Johann Sebastian Bach in which he translates Bach’s compositions into moved and moving images, the dancers turning into musical instruments and notes.
Company dancers get the chance to choreograph in March 2017 in the DANCE\\\RUPTION choreographer’s lab.
Finally, visiting the Schiller Theatre are the Ballett am Rhein Düsseldorf Duisburg with Martin Schläpfer’s 7, which garnered an excellent reception in Edinburgh last summer, and whose minimalist title refers to Gustav Mahler’s symphony of the same number.
For more details and dates, visit www.staatsballett-berlin.de
Elsewhere in German, the Semperoper Ballett in Dresden has also released preliminary details of its schedules, including news that there will be a new production of Don Quixote by artistic director Aaron S. Watkin in early November. There’s also a tasty looking triple bill of Balanchine’s Symphony in C, Jiří Kylián’s Forgotten Land and William Forsythe’s Quintett The complete programme will be issued later in March.