Stuttgart Ballet and Gauthier Dance announce plans as live dance returns to the city

David Mead

Two pieces of good news from Stuttgart Ballet and the city’s Gauthier Dance about the return of performances.

Stuttgart Ballet in RESPONSE I

After all previously planned performances of the 2019-2020 season were cancelled, Stuttgart Ballet has announced instead the in-theatre, and with an audience, premiere of an entirely new mixed repertory evening titled RESPONSE I on July 25, 2020.

That it can do so is down to recent changes in regulations in Stuttgart that make it possible to perform to an audience of up to 99 people in the State Opera House. Its usual capacity is 1,400.

The full title of the new programme forged by artistic director Tamas Detrich is RESPONSE I: Something old, something new, something classic, something blue. Highlight will be three world premieres commissioned from dancer-choreographers within the company: Fabio Adorisio. Roman Novitzky and Louis Stiens.

Working in accordance with all rules stipulated by the local health authorities (backstage and onstage), the new works will maintain the proscribed distance between dancers, which will naturally impact on form and content as well as challenge viewers with an entirely new aesthetic.

Each choreographer was also requested to choose music which could be played live by a small ensemble of musicians from the orchestra.

Friedemann Vogel in BoleroPhoto Stuttgart Ballet
Friedemann Vogel in Bolero
Photo Stuttgart Ballet

These three new works will be flanked by works from the company repertory including solos from Kenneth MacMillan’s Requiem and Edward Clug’s midnight-blue Ssss…, Michel Fokine’s The Dying Swan, Hans van Manen’s Solo (for three men) and a pas deux by John Cranko that will be performed by a couple living in the same household. The evening will close with a special edition of Maurice Béjart’s Bolero.

RESPONSE I will get just three performances this season. However, the premiere will be broadcast live to the Cannstatter Kulturwasen, a newly erected drive-in cinema in the city with a 240m2 LED screen. The Kulturwasen can hold up to 1,000 cars providing over 2,000 people the opportunity to enjoy the first performance of the Stuttgart Ballet since March 2020.

Thanks to the Stuttgart Ballet’s main sponsor Porsche, entrance to the Kulturwasen will be free.

Talking of Porsche, further good news is that the car manufacturer, and Stuttgart Ballet’s main sponsor since 2012, has just renewed its commitment until 2023.

Gauthier Dance brings forward a new Marco Goecke full-length as Swan Lakes moves to Colours 2021

There’s more good news from the Theaterhaus, home of Gauthier Dance, the city’s leading contemporary company. June 2020 was to have seen the premiere of a much-anticipated Swan Lakes programme with four new works inspired by the iconic ballet by Marie Chouinard, Marco Goecke, Hofesh Shechter and Cayetano Soto.

While that became impossible to stage, artistic director Eric Gauthier did a quick swap and with the help of Goecke has brought forward to October 2020 a new whole-evening piece, Do You Love Gershwin?, by the choreographer that was originally scheduled for the Colours 2021 festival. The Swan Lakes programme will now open next summer’s festival.

Since the beginning of June, Goecke has been rehearsing in the two Gauthier Dance Löwentor studios in compliance with all Corona-related hygiene requirements, both with regard to the rehearsals in two separate groups of dancers and the choreography itself. Do You Love Gershwin? consists exclusively of solos and pas de deux.

Artistic director Eric Gauthier says, “I couldn’t be happier or more relieved. By simply swapping productions, we can realise all our plans without artistic compromise, despite corona. A huge thank you to our wonderful Artist in Residence for his kindness and flexibility!”