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75° Festival del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino

75° Festival del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino

Florence, Italy,  4th may – 10th june 2012

“Il Viaggio – Dalla Mitteleuropa al Sudamerica”

“The Travel – From Mitteleurope to South America”

By Fabio Bardelli

translation from italian to english Bruno Tredicine

The Rosecavallier by Richard Strauss will be back at the repertoire, conducted by Zubin Mehta.

FLORENCE: This year the prestigious Festival del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, still one of the most important musical events in Italy, reaches its 75th edition. It was founded in 1933, so it’s the oldest Italian Festival and surely one of the most important worldwide.

Florence is internationally viewed as the cradle of culture; here Opera was born, thanks to Giulio Caccini and Jacopo Peri, between the 16th and 17th centuries. Music and culture are deeply rooted in this town, so it was almost a natural process that gave birth in 1933 to this Festival, thanks to Luigi Ridolfi, Vittorio Gui and their farsightedness.

Over the years the Festival del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino added other “side events” of extra-musical nature, while operas and concert were still the core of the manifestation.

This year, checking the program, it seems that these “side events” have taken more space, leaving almost music on the background, as if – being impossible to organize musical performances of the highest interest – they had preferred to fill the season with any kind of events.

This year the title “From Mitteleurope to South America” is the fil rouge of the Festival, which is dedicated to Amerigo Vespucci, on the 500th  anniversary of his death. He was a Florentine, a great navigator whose name is tied to the discovery of faraway lands in South America.

Zubin Mehta

So this Festival is almost a prologue of next tournée of Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Orchestra under Zubin Metha, next August in South America.

Regarding the operas, the Management has to fight against the economical crisis, something that affects the whole cultural world in Italy. Anyway, the good new is that Richard Strauss opera Der Rosenkavalier is back to Florence after 23 years. Strauss’ masterwork will be conducted by Zubin Mehta always beloved by the local audience, so much that in 2006 he was nominated Honorary Life Conductor of Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Orchestra. Der Rosenkavalier will be staged by Eike Gramss and the vocal cast will be first class.

A contemporary opera, commissioned by the Theatre, is La Metamorfosi, based upon Franz Kafka, composed by the young italian componist Silvia Colasanti.

Two works by Bela Bartòk in one evening will follow, the ballet The miraculous Mandarin (choreography by Jo Kanamori) and the opera Bluebeard’s Castle.

Still in the ballet field, there will be Hindemith’s The four Temperaments with the historic choreography by George Balanchine, and Schönberg’s Verklärte Nacht (choreography by Susanne Linke). The Bartòk evening should have had Seiji Ozawa on the podium, but unfortunately he had to cancel for health reasons, so in his place we will see the Hungarian conductor Zsolt Hamar.

Radu Lupu, piano Photo: Mary Robert, Decca

Then, there will be symphonic concerts and solo recitals; among others, pianist Radu Lupu, a concert under Zubin Mehta and the final evening with Georg Friedrich Händel’s oratory “Israel in Egypt” under Fabio Biondi.

Many concerts will take place in the old Teatro Comunale, but some of the others in the Sala Grande of New Florence Opera House, where works are still in progress and that will be completed unfortunately with some delay on the program. But the Sala Grande is ready, at least for concerts; it was inaugurated last December, so it’s beautiful and important to see some of the performances there, almost as a sign of change for the future.

John Cage

For the rest, there are many concerts, also of contemporary music, tributes to John Cage and Messiaen, Rihm and Debussy, plays, movies, meetings, art exhibits and so on, in many of Florence’s most important locations, such as Teatro della Pergola or Chiostro di San Lorenzo.

A musical evening with soprano Angela Gheorghiu and tenor Saimir Pirgu will be the link with Tuscan Sun Festival, that this year will move from Cortona to Florence from 11th to 18th June.




By Henning Høholt

PARIS: It is not only the Ballet at the Paris Opera which is presenting ballets in Paris. Internationally the large famouse companies are also visiting Paris, and many smaller companies tryes to attend the interest of the Paris audience, and it is very interesting to notice that they are being noticed, and they are through that helping to build up their international image.

This summer Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater shall visit Théâtre du Châtelet between 25 June – 21 July, and Paul Taylor Dance Company at Théâtre National du Chaillot between 19.-28. June. Both companies in the fram of the ballets summer festival in Paris Les Eté de la Danse. Lately we had the farewell tourne visiting Theatre de la Ville of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, who has stopped after Merce Cunningham´s died.

Contrasting to Les Ballets Russes 2012  at Théâtre des Champs Élysées which presents Cléopatra – Ida Rubinstein, Firebird and La Spectre de la Rose, 28 June to July 1st.  – But in fact contrasting is perhaps not correct to say. As what Les Ballets Russes was presenting 100 years ago, was at that time contemporary dance. Please read or presentation of the Les Ballets Russes programme at for 29th March.

Summer Dance Program

Renee Robinson in Alvin Ailey’s Revelations. Photo by Paul Kolnik.

In 2012, the festival Les Etés de la Danse will have the pleasure to present the return of the ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER from June 25 – July 21 at the landmark Théâtre du Châtelet, under the artistic direction of its new director Robert Battle, for his first season.

Presenting 28th performances, with several different programs.

The company will perform a large and varied repertory of ballets, including the long time favorite Master work : Revelations.



ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER grew from a now-fabled performance in March 1958 at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. Led by Alvin Ailey and a group of young African-American modern dancers, that performance changed forever the perception of American dance.

Briana Reed. Photo by Andrew Eccles

The Ailey company has gone on to perform for an estimated 23 million people at theaters in 48 states and 71 countries on six continents — as well as millions more through television broadcasts.

In 2008, a U.S. Congressional resolution designated the Company as “a vital American cultural ambassador to the world,” one that celebrates the uniqueness of the African-American cultural experience and the preservation and enrichment of the American modern dance heritage.

When Mr. Ailey began creating dances, he drew upon his “blood memories” of Texas, the blues, spirituals and gospel as inspiration, which resulted in the creation of his most popular and critically acclaimed work, Revelations.

Although he created 79 ballets over his lifetime, Mr. Ailey maintained that his company was not exclusively a repository for his own work.

A. Douthit K. Boyd and Y. Lebrun. Photo by Andrew Eccles

Today, the Company continues Mr. Ailey’s mission by presenting important works of the past and commissioning new ones. In all, more than 200 works by over 80 choreographers are part of the Ailey company’s repertory.

Before his untimely death in 1989, Alvin Ailey designated Judith Jamison as his successor, and over the next 21 years, she brought the Company to unprecedented success.

In July 2011, Ms. Jamison passed the mantle to Robert Battle. In announcing his appointment as Artistic Director, Ms. Jamison stated, “Combining an intimate knowledge of the Ailey company with an independent perspective, Robert Battle is without question the creative force of the future.”

The 15 ballets :
• 3 ballets d’Alvin Ailey : Night Creature, Revelations, Streams
• 3 ballets de Robert Battle : In/Side, Takademe, The Hunt
• 1 ballet de Judith Jamison : Love Stories avec Robert Battle et Rennie Harris
• 3 ballets d’Ulysses Dove : Episodes, Urban Folk Dance, Vespers
• 1 ballet de Camille A. Brown : The Evolution of a Secured Feminine
• 1 ballet de Rennie Harris : Home
• 1 ballet de Ohad Naharin : Minus 16
• 1 ballet de Paul Taylor : Arden Court
• 1 ballet de Joyce Trisler : Journey

– – – – – – –

Paul Taylor Dance Company at Théâtre National du Chaillot between 19.-28. June

Cloven Kingdom par la Paul Taylor Dance Company. Photo Tom Caravaglia

After welcoming the dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov last September, the National Theatre of Chaillot has renewed its partnership with The Festival of Dance Summers in with the Paul Taylor Dance Company.

Esplanade par la Paul Taylor Dance Company. Photo: Paul B. Goode

Paul Taylor (81 years) is a figure “history” of the American modern dance.

Having started as a dancer of the Martha Graham Dance Company – like the late MerceCunningham – he moved away from these two choreographers, creating his own style, both made of fluidity, agility, strength and athletic daring provocations, indicating a free spirit and nonconformist.

Company B par la Paul Taylor Dance Company. Photo: Paul B. Goode.

The work of Paul Taylor (135 choreography to date) has several facets: clear andsometimes joyous, sometimes dark, sometimes funny, often even wacky, but alsolyrical and poetic.

Choreographer architectures light listening to music, he is alsoworried the observer of society, pitching with a portrait of the corrosive humorbehaviors, mocking the foibles of his contemporaries and denouncing the manipulators or the influence exerted by a group.

He also enjoys playing appearances and the real border of dream and imagination, visited by the angel of the bizarre.

The Paul Taylor Dance is not just “entertainment”.


Les Etés de la Danse is an annual dance festival that began in July 2005 with an extremely well received engagement of the San Francisco Ballet. Addressing the lack of major performing arts presentations during the summer in Paris, the festival brings the world’s greatest companies to enthusiastic audiences in the European capital of dance. Madame Jacques Chirac, former First Lady of France, is the Honorary President of the festival; Marina de Brantes, a leader of numerous artistic and humanitarian organizations, is the President of a prestigious Board composed of a number of prominent cultural, social, business and political figures. Valery Colin, a former dancer with the Paris Opera Ballet, is the festival’s founder and director.

The festival first presented the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 2006 and it was a such a tremendous success for both the large audiences and the dance critics, the festival invited them back in 2009. In the mean time, Les Etés de la Danse invited two other fantastic ballet companies to perform in Paris : the National Ballet of Cuba in 2007 and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal in 2008. During the 2010 cross-year organized by France and Russia, the festival invited two long-awaited Paris premieres. First, Mikhail Baryshnikov performed in his internationally acclaimed program of contemporary solos and duets, and then the National Ballet of Novossibirsk presented some of its repertory, under the dynamic artistic direction of ballet star Igor Zelensky. During the summer of 2011, the Miami City Ballet, directed and founded by Edward Villella, one of America’s most valued dancers was invited in July. Their parisian premiere was the occasion for this company to celebrate it’s 25th anniversary. Then in September the festival was proud to present In Paris the new creation of the Dmitry Krimov Laboratory and the Baryshnikov Art Center (BAC). This work, staring Mikhail Baryshnikov, was greatly appreciated.

Thousands of people from all over the world are expected, once again, to attend next summer’s festival of Les Etés de la Danse to see performances, films, open classes, exhibitions and educational programs.

Beloved Renegades par la Paul Taylor Dance Company. Photo: Paul B. Goode


COPPELIA from Palais Garnier at Mezzo

Dorothée Gilbert - José Martinez. Photo: Sébastien Mathé/ Opéra national de Paris

Dorothée Gilbert as Swanilda, Mathias Heymann as Frantz, José Martinez as Coppélius and Fabrice Bourgeois as Spalanzani are heading the splendid cast from the Ballet from Opera de Paris in their performing of  the wonderful ballet Coppélia,  together with Corps de Ballet de l’Opéra National de Paris, Patrice Bart (Chorégraphy), and the wellknown music splendid played by  Orchestre Colonne, conducted by Koen Kessels. The production which is presented at Mezzo was enregistrated at Palais Garnier, Paris, mars 2011. TV realisation by Vincent Bataillon.

Review by Henning Høholt

Swanhilde and her girl friends, finale of Valse Lente, 1st, Act. Photo: Sébastian Mathé.

Coppelia is a charming, funny ballet full of humor and ballet mime. It is often performed by small ballet companies because it doesn’t require a large cast of roles. But in the Paris version by Patrice Bart (Chorégraphy) it is a large version we are getting, and it suits in deed this ballet very well. It gives us the possibility to enjoy all the famus musical parts well danced. In the Paris version i feel that I am at home. They have all the famous numbers included in the ballet, and they are dancing splendid.  Susch as the Czardas in its very full, the Mazurka.  The famous Valse Lente with a lot of danseuses. Dance of the hours.  In the second act we of course enjoy the Waltz of Coppelia, brilliant performed by  Dorothée Gilbert. elegantly danced together with three of the female “dolls” in doctor Coppelius atellier.

José Martinez as dr. Coppelius. Photo: Sebastian Mathé

I am use to that dr. Coppelius is danced by an old dancer, but in the Patrice Bart version he is letting a young dancer, José Martinez be Coppelius,  but assisted by an old doll maker, this is giving new possibilityes, as José Martinez can participate with many great soloparts allready in the first act, and in ensembles and pas de deux with the  one he think is his doll Coppelia, (Dorothée Gilbert) and with Swanhilda (Dorothée Gilbert). Her Reel is virtuose. This idea gives the Paris Coppelia a special dimension.

Mathias Heymann has  as Frantz several wonderful solo parts, as forexempel his brilliant and demanding entre in to the atellier of Coppelius, where he save Swanhilda, and bring her out to the dream world. where they have their  final love pas de deux. A version, that I have not seen earlier, but it functions very well, which brings her out to the streets of her home city, and she is saved.  However, I am missing the part of Coppelia, where in the studio of Coppelius, he is trying to get Frantz drunk, so he can steel his heart and soul. This detail is of dramatic importence for understanding the history. But as allways, Coppelias basement gives the possibillity to several versions.  Furthermore, i missed the last act with the wedding scene.

The basic is as follows: Coppélia is a sentimental comic ballet with original choreography by Arthur Saint-Léon to a ballet libretto by Saint-Léon and Charles Nuitter. It was based upon two macabre stories by ETA Hoffmann, Der Sandmann (The Sandman), and Die Puppe (The Doll).

Dorothée Gilbert - Mathias Heymann - José Martinez. Photo: Sébastien Mathé/ Opéra national de Paris

Coppélia concerns an inventor, Dr Coppelius, (José Martinez ) who has made a life-size dancing doll. It is so lifelike that Frantz, (Mathias Heymann) a village swain, becomes infatuated with it and sets aside his true heart’s desire, Swanhilde (Dorothée Gilbert). She shows him his folly by dressing as the doll, pretending to make it come to life and ultimately saving him from an untimely end at the hands of the inventor.

The story begins during a town festival to celebrate the arrival of a new bell. The town crier announces that, when it arrives, anyone who becomes married will be awarded a special gift of money. Swanhilde and Franz plan to marry during the festival. However, Swanhilde becomes unhappy with Franz because he seems to be paying more attention to a girl named Coppélia, who sits on the balcony of a nearby house.

Coppelias face. In front José Martinez as Dr. Coppelius. Photo: Sébastian Mathé

The house belongs to a mysterious and faintly diabolical inventor, Doctor Coppélius. Although Coppélia spends all of her time sitting motionless and reading, Franz is mesmerized by her beauty and is determined to attract her attention. Still upset with Franz, Swanhilde shakes an ear of wheat to her head: if it rattles, then she will know that Franz loves her. Upon doing this however, she hears nothing. When she shakes it by Franz’s head, he also hears nothing; but then he tells her that it rattles. However, she does not believe him and runs away heartbroken.

From Coppelia 1. act. Photo: Sebastian Mathé

Swanhilde and her friends find themselves in a large room filled with people. However, the occupants aren’t moving. The girls discover that, rather than people, these are life-size mechanical dolls. They quickly wind them up and watch them move. Swanhilde also finds Coppélia behind a curtain and discovers that she, too, is a doll.

Dr. Coppelius returns home to find the girls. He becomes angry with them, not only for trespassing but for also disturbing his workroom. He kicks them out and begins cleaning up the mess. Swanhilde is still there, hidden. She dresses up in Coppelia’s clothes and pretends that the doll has come to life. Dr. Coppelius becomes confused. Then in this version Frantz arrives and are leading Swanhilde away, and it all ends with their love pas de deux.

Coppelia in this version from Palais Garnier can be enjoyed many times during the Easter periode, and after at Mezzo Live HD: 03 / 04 – 10h30, 06 / 04 – 10h30, 14 / 04 – 07h00, 14 / 04 – 21h00, 15 / 04 – 03h30, 15 / 04 – 17h30, 16 / 04 – 00h00.

Swanhildes friends entering the atellier of Dr. Coppelius, opening 2nd. act. Photo: Sebastian Mathé

Doctor Coppélius is not unlike Hoffmann’s sinister Herr Drosselmeyer in “The Nutcracker

Alternative versions: A variation of the Coppélia story is contained in Jacques Offenbach’s opera, The Tales of Hoffmann, a fictional work about the same Hoffmann who wrote the story that inspired Coppélia. The opera consists of a prologue, three fantastic tales in which Hoffmann is a participant, and an epilogue. In it we meet the macabre Svengali-like travelling magician of the same name.In the first story, based on Der Sandmann, Hoffmann falls in love with a mechanical doll, Olympia, but in this case, the story takes on a melancholy tinge as the doll breaks apart.

In 1974 George Balanchine choreographed a version of Coppélia for the New York City Ballet. He was assisted by Alexandra Danilova, who had performed the title role many times during her dancing career. She staged the Petipa choreography for Act II. Balanchine created new choreography for Act III and for the mazurka, czardas and Frantz’s variation in Act I.

Don Quichotte from Amsterdam at Mezzo.

Sunday evening April 1, Mezzo presented Don Quixote in a version with the Dutch National Ballet

Don Quixote with Dutch National Ballet at Mezzo. Matthew Golding as Basilio, Anna Tsygankova as Kitri in the Grand Pas de Deux, last act. Photo: Angela Sterling

Review by Henning Høholt.

Matthew Golding as Basilio, Anna Tsygankova as Kitri. Don Quichot, choreography Alexei Ratmansky. All photo's : Angela Sterling

AMSTERDAM: Dutch National Ballet with their version of Don Quixote. Realised and additional choreography by Alexei Ratmansky, but based on the version by Marius Petipa and Alexandre Gorsky. This version has been created exclusively for the company by leading Russian choreographer Alexei Ratmansky. Specially we enjoyed that the version is different in many details to the one by Rudolf Nureyev, and are moving the parts in the history, and adding some more Ludwig Minkus music, which we are not used to hear, us who are family with the John Lanchberry arrangement, made for Rudolf Nureyevs TV version. that we enjoyd very many times in the 1980´s with the Norwegoan National Ballet, when Rudolf Nureyev and Patrick Dupont danced the role as Basilio in Oslo together with the two ballerinas Leonie Leahy and Sissel Westnes. This musical arrangement refresh the history, and gives many new details, and also details, and the possibility to new soloparts. Furthermore the modern designs for the ballet costumes and scenography , by the renowned French designer Jérôme Kaplan, refer to the times ofCervantes.

Anna Tsygankova as Kitri. Photo: Angela Sterling

The ballet Don Quixote – an audience favourite of prestigious companies like the Bolshoi Ballet, Ballet de l´Opera de Paris, Norwegian National Ballet, Lithuanian National Ballet, The Boston Ballet and American Ballet Theatre. It was a great pleasure to enjoy the new production Don Quixote  (from February 2010) made with Dutch National Ballet. In the leading roles Anna Tsygankova was beautiful and virtuose as Kitri, Matthew Golding showed very much virtuosity and were masculin handsome as  Basile showing flamboyant leaps, dizzying pirouettes and crisp pointe work, that are standard features of the production, but also by these outstanding dancers gave them every opportunity to show off their technical prowess.

Matthew Golding as Basilio. Photo': Angela Sterling

Furthermore Peter de Jong  gave the titelrole new sides as Don Quichotte, forexempel his participating in the Dryade Garden, where he was not passive, as we often have seen, but naturally active together with the Dryades, and the very virtuose Maia Makhateli as Amor, and the  beautiful Sasha Mukhamedov as the Queen of the Dryades. Very well in tradition to the comic story based on Cervantes’ masterpiece, which makes strong demands on the dancers’ acting abilities, somthing that Peter de Jong  as Don Quixote, Karel de Rooij (Sancho Panza), Dario Mealli (Gamache), Altin Kaftira (Lorenzo, the father of Kitri), took very good care of. The conductor, Kevin Rhodes that we are familiar with from before, gave the dancers very good tempi, that they deserved, and could fill up, so it was clearly that they enjoyed it on stage.

Don Quichotte at MEZZO.

Chorégraphy: Marius Petipa, Alexandre Gorsky & Alexei Ratmansky,
Dutch National Ballet

Orchestre , Holland Symphonia
Chef d’orchestre, Kevin Rhodes

Peter de Jong (Don Quichotte), Karel de Rooij (Sancho Panza), Photo: Angela Sterling

Anna Tsygankova (Kitri), Matthew Golding (Basile), Peter de Jong (Don Quichotte), Karel de Rooij (Sancho Panza), Dario Mealli (Gamache), Altin Kaftira (Lorenzo), Natalia Hoffmann (Mercedes), Moises Martin Cintas (Espada), Maiko Tsutsumi (Piccilia), Nadia Yanowsky (Juanita), Maia Makhateli (Cupidon), Sasha Mukhamedov (Reine des Dryades)

Directors for the TV production: Adrienne Liron and Jeff Tudor.

Don Quixote will be repeated again on Mezzo:  04 / 04 – 09h30. 09 / 04 – 16h45 and 14 / 04 – 09h30.

DANCE YOUR LIFE at Pompidou, Paris

Danser sa vie - DANCE YOUR LIFE at Centre Pompodue. Last day April 2nd. 2012. Photo: Henning Høholt.

DANCE YOUR LIFE at Pompidou Center, Paris last day April 2nd 2012.

This outstanding exhibition has managde to collect the mst impressing collection of dance with links to visual arts from 1900 until today. It is a large success for the Pompidou center, and has been visitid by a large audience.

Please enjoy the photos from the exhibition by Henning Høholt

Presentation of the exhibition
by Christine Macel and Emma Lavigne, curators at the Musée national d’art moderne

From November 2011, the Pompidou Centre is showing an unprecedented exhibition on the links between the visual arts and dance, from the 1900s until today. “Danser sa vie” shows how they lit the spark of modernity to feed the major movements and figures that have written the history of Modern and Contemporary art. In a space of over two thousand square meters, the exhibition illustrates its theme with works by artistic figures of the 20th century, the founding movements of modernity, as well as the work and research of contemporary artists and dancers.

The entrance room is acting as an introduction, dominated by Henri Matisse large La Danse de Paris (1931-1933), where it immediately is placed in cooperation with a life performer of today. Photo: Henning Høholt

Divided into three parts, the exhibition shows art and dance’s common interest in the moving body. Highlighting this hidden side of the avant-gardes and this vibrant source of inspiration for contemporary art, “Danser sa vie” brings together all disciplines in an enriching dialogue – from the visual arts – up to contemporary video – and choreographic art. A vast selection pf paintings, sculptures, installations, audiovisual works and choreographic pieces testify to their ceaseless exchanges in a sometimes inseparable dialogue.”

“My art is just an effort to express the truth of my being in gesture and movement. (…) When I was in front of the audiences that flocked to see my performances, I never hesitated. I gave them my soul’s innermost impulses. From the beginning, I have only danced my life.” Isadora Duncan, My Life, 1928.

A Fauns Afternoon, that Vaslav Nijinsky created in 1912 as a part of Dhiaghilevs Ballets Russes, is presented in film version, but a never version with Nicola Le Riche from Ballet de l´Opera de Paris. Photo: Henning Høholt

A cross between Dionysian burst of life and Apollonian aspiration, dance played a pivotal role in the modern aesthetic revolution. Thanks to pioneers such as Loïe Fuller and Isadora Duncan, not to mention the genius of Vaslav Nijinsky, the art of the body in motion, an art of space and time, underwent an unprecedented shift. This upheaval had a decisive influence on the development of the visual arts. “Danser sa vie” retraces this little-known history, highlighting the common themes between the modern era and today, in order to delve back to the sources of dance, recently rekindled by the contemporary art scene. Its aim is to highlight dance as “a hidden face of the avant-gardes” and to weave arabesques in the historical design which links the past to the present : this desire became stronger in the wake of the loss of figures lately as important as Pina Bausch, Merce Cunninghma or Kazuo Ono.

The exhibition is organized around three sections with a constant to-and-fro between historical works and today, with unprecedented encounters. One of the main challenges was how to “exhibit dance”. Mediums are intermingled to encourage the spectator’s complete immersion, projecting him as close as possible to the body in motion through the use of film.

Costumes, and the same costumes in action in the film form the prformance behind. Photo: Henning Høholt

The first room introduces the exhibition’s themes: the modern masterpiece by Henri Matisse “La Danse”, on exceptional loan from the Musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris, faces a work by Tino Sehgal, whilst the artist Daria Martin’s film, with its fixed tableaux where the camera moves in place of the body, represents the great figures of modern dance from Josephine Baker to Oskar Schlemmer and Martha Graham.

The same costumes seen from the backside.

These intermingled histories are part of a circuit articulated around a statement by Isadora Duncan that opens the 20th century. “My art is just an effort to express the truth of my being in gesture and movement. (…) From the beginning, I have only danced my life” she wrote in her biography My Life.

Duncan announced thus one of the firm convictions of 20th century art, the attempt to link art to life, from the Dadaists to the participative works of current art. As Merce Cunningham also says, dance is “the visible manifestation of life”, and “that single fleeting moment when you feel alive.” It places life at the heart of its project.

Dance sculptur, inspiration between dance and sculpturer. Photo: Henning Høholt

Three sections define the history of modern and postmodern dance with that of the visual arts. The first deals with the dawn of a new subjectivity which is embodied in the work to become its expression, the second deals with the abstraction of the body and its mechanization, and finally the third focuses on performance, born with the Dada avant-garde, which defined itself through dance to the point of merging with it from the 1960s.

Female dance sculptur, inspiration between dance and sculpturer. Photo: Henning Høholt

“Gesture is the direct agent of the heart”, claimed François Delsarte, a nineteenth century thinker who posthumously influenced the advent of modern dance and its art of expression. The invention of a new subjectivity and expressivity was explored through the emergence of free dance, unfettered by classical ballet and epitomized by the figure of Isadora Duncan. Dancers began to convey a sensual fervour that on occasions caused scandal, as was the case with Nijinsky’s rendition of Afternoon of a Faun which represented a new source of Dionysian inspiration for artists. In Germany, the Expressionist current triggered a wealth of exchanges between painters and dancers.

Art inspired by Dance. Or Art as inspiration for dance. Photo: Henning Høholt

While Laban embodied the new figure of the dancer as educator and theoretician, Mary Wigman, one of his pupils at the free community of Monte Verità, best epitomized the figure of woman beset with life and death urges, as illustrated in her famous Witch’s dance. Wigman, who viewed herself as a dancer of humanity, proved equally fascinating to painters Emil Nolde and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, not to mention her pupil Gret Palucca. Following on from this Ausdruckstanz, a reflection of German Expressionism, came the creation of Theatertanz by Pina Bausch, who was herself a descendant of the choreographer Kurt Jooss.

Pina Bausch, front of dance book.

Dancers and artists invent a new repertory of gestures and plastic forms, inviting the body to cross the threshold of modernity.

The history of abstraction would not be what it is without dance. Mirroring the technical innovations of an increasingly industrialized twentieth century, dancers and artists invented a new repertory of gestures and plastic forms, inviting the body to cross the threshold of modernity. At the turn of the century, inspired by the advent of electric lighting, Loïe Fuller’s creative imagination sparked another revolution with her kinetic ballets. The impact of her serpentine dances on artists, from the chromatic, rhythmical symphonies of Sonia Delaunay to the vibrant energy of Gino Severini and Fortunato Depero’s Futurist works, was considerable.

“Dance has always drawn on life for its rhythms and forms (…) One must imitate the movements of machines with gestures; pay assiduous court to steering wheels, ordinary wheels, pistons, thereby preparing the fusion of man with the machine, to achieve the metallicity of the Futurist dance”, wrote Filippo Tommasso Marinetti in his “Manifesto of Futurist Dance” in 1917.

The whole gamut of avant-garde movements, Cubism, Futurism, Orphism, De Stijl, Dada, Bauhaus or Russian Constructivism, also latched on to dance, all fascinated by the body in motion and by the colours, lines, energy and rhythms of dance. From Francis Picabia to Fernand Léger, from Theo Van Doesburg to Varvara Stepanova, dance generates new abstract rhythms and mechanical ballets. This geometrised, elementarised, mechanised and stylised body also played a fundamental role in the research instigated by Laban, dancer, draughtsman and founder of the choreutic. His icosahedron, a multi-facetted volume encapsulating all the possible movements of the body, proved to have a major influence on dancers such as William Forsythe, and is also echoed in Olafur Eliasson’s more contemporary investigations, including Movement microscope (2011), a work directly inspired by this legacy specially created for the exhibition “Danser sa vie”.

Oskar Schlemmer’s humanist thought, firmly anchored on the future of Man in the face of technology, is echoed for its part in the works of many contemporary artists. One of them is Alwin Nikolais, whose aesthetic premise integrates the world of technology and the stage using lighting effects to create a metamorphosis, turning the geometrised bodies of the dancers into phantasmagorical elements of a global composition. The same can be said of Nicolas Schöffer, who, in the multimedia show Kyldex blends his dancers into his cybernetic sculptures, creating a single organism to depict the continuous flow of energy.

“Look at Jasper Johns’ and Robert Rauschenberg’s painting. They use the canvas as I use the stage.” Merce Cunningham

The last lap of the exhibition explores the exchange between dance and performance art. Ever since the first Dadaist acts at the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich during the First World War, dance and performance have been inextricably linked. Dancers Mary Wigman, Emmy Hennings, Suzanne Perrottet and Sophie Taueber-Arp all took part in the Dada adventure, and key figures emerged in the Twenties, such as Valeska Gert or Niddy Impekoven. Performance art would not have been the same without dance. Black Mountain College was the hub of intense activity, with dance and performance becoming increasingly intertwined, largely thanks to the contribution of John Cage and Merce Cunningham in the late 1940s.

Film screening of different kind is being presented. Here a "Dance with me". film. Photo: Henning Høholt

In the 1950s, on America’s West Coast, dancer Anna Halprin made an unprecedented foray into the dialogue between art and life, dance and performance, by inventing “tasks”, movements tied to everyday acts, nature and the socio-political arena. The innovations of the Judson Dance Theater in New York in the 1960s and the happenings of Allan Kaprow and Fluxus in the 1950s and 1960s turned the body in motion into a seismograph of the soul-searching of contemporary society. The aesthetic, formal and conceptual to-and-fro between choreographers and artists seemed boundless. Some, like Robert Rauschenberg, Yvonne Rainer, Robert Morris and Trisha Brown, described themselves as plasticians just as readily as choreographers.

Merce Cunningham’s frequent encounters with abstract expressionist painters led to his conception of the stage space as a non-figurative painting, or as a non-hierarchical space. He is surrounded by a constellation of artists such as Nam June Paik, Warhol or Rauschenberg who were to renew with him the notion of the total art work and of Wagnerian theatre.

Pompidou Center is reaching out to many kind of groups, introducing the fantastic dance art to young and old. Here a group of children being informed. Photo: Henning Høholt,

The experimental tendency of post-modern dance, where art and dance merged, rejected traditional stage designs and the stakes of artistic representation. Trisha Brown, both dancer and plastician, was equally at home in a museum venue, on roofs or in the street. Dance was everywhere and anyone could become a dancer, according to the choreographers Deborah Hay, Steve Paxton and Anna Halprin. As philosopher Georges Didi-Huberman recalls “most of the time, we dance to be together”. This invitation to dance your life has a particular resonance in contemporary art and dance, especially through the revival of a new interest in popular dance, a ceaseless source of inspiration for artists, from Sonia Delaunay and the Bal Bullier to Josephine Baker‘s frenzied dances for Alexander Calder.

In combination for the exhibition it is followed up with an interesting large catalogue made by Christine Macel and Emma Lavigne. 320 pages, including 270 colour illustrations.

The golden age of disco in the late 1970s with John Travolta’s memorable performance in the film Saturday Night Fever still inspires new versions today.

Catalogues waiting for the visitors in the bookshop. In addition to the catalogue a 60 pages illlustrated exhibition guide with 70 illustrations is awailable. Furthermore an Anthology with writings on Dance 240 pages.

In the early 1960s, when he was still dreaming of becoming a tap-dancer, Andy Warhol imprinted his Dance Diagrams with foxtrot steps. The club culture he helped to forge inspired many later artists. The golden age of disco in the late 1970s, with John Travolta’s memorable performance in the film Saturday Night Fever is still inspiring Ange Leccia today, who also worked for a show by Merce Cunningham. Bootsy Collin‘s funk music formed the basis of Adrian Piper’s Funk Lessons and the later Shiva Dances, while bal populaire street parties and go-go dancers were to inspire two unique performance works by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, an important artist working in the 1990s.

The bookshop at the Pompidou Center has an updated large well selcted assortiment of dance and choreography books in combination with the Dance Your Life exhibition. Photo: Henning Høholt

Jérôme Bel also draws on great pop music hits for his momentous piece The Show Must Go On … Recent years have witnessed a strong resurgence of dance in contemporary art. Throughout the exhibition, different works by Matthew Barney, Simon Dybbroe Moeller, Olafur Eliasson, Daria Martin, Jeff Mills, Kelly Nipper, Mai-Thu Perret or Tino Sehgal dialogue with modern masterpieces.


By Henning Høholt

As this presentation is so well made, and with so much of interesting details, it seems that the curators,  Christine Macel and Emma Lavigne, completely have forgotten that contemporary dance also existed outside of France and United States.

Why is Birgit Culberg and her special style note mentioned? Outstanding selected choreography by her: The road to Klockrike, Miss Julie based on August Strindbergs novel , The Moon Reindeer, The Lady from the Sea. Psychological insight was Miss Cullberg’s strength, as she showed again in 1982 when the Cullberg Ballet, which she founded in 1967, made its belated United States debut at the Brooklyn Academy of Music with Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden in attendance.

Never shy about exploring the neurotic and the erotic, Miss Cullberg was represented by a duet, ”Adam and Eve,” and an especially sensuous performance of ”Miss Julie,” which nonetheless focused on the class differences between Julie and her servant. In ”Adam and Eve,” Daniela Malusardi and Niklas Ek, Miss Cullberg’s elder son, moved seamlessly from innocent playfulness to adult passion, a couple expelled from Eden but rejecting God as well.

I am too missing her sons Mats Ek on this presentation. In some of Ek’s former choreographies, traditions of Kurt Joos and of his mother, Birgit Cullberg may be apparent. He uses classical as well as modern dance techniques. Social engagement of psychological dilemmas combined with subtle humor, form the basis of his choreographies. For Ek, movement is a means of individual expression. Aesthetic value is not his first priority.

Ivo Cramér,  who often worked in folklore-inspired style with a burlesque incurring and mimic elements, His dance dramas have often had historical and religious subjects. His key work The Prodigal Son, for example, inspired by Dalarna paintings from the eighteenth century, depicting the biblical story of the prodigal son.. From 40th century onwards, Cramer created 200 ballets works. Other missing names are the Rolf de Maré and The Ballet Suedoise.  

Ny norsk Ballett,Norwegian ballet ensemble from 1948 to 1955, with headquarters in Oslo. Managers and principal choreographers were Gerd Kjølås and Louise Browne.Rita Tori replaced 1953 Browne, and the ensemble’s name was changed to the Norwegian National Ballet.

And the outstanding Norwegian choreographers Kjersti Alveberg, Alveberg’s ballets have always been thematically oriented – many were inspired by art, philosophy, poetry and music.  Her own statement: “I didn’t choose dance. Dance chose me! It’s not how you move, but what moves you “.   In 1990 her full length ballet: “Volven”, (Scandinavian saga of creation), premiered at The Norwegian National Ballet with music by Synne Skouen. Her creation “Volven” has been said to be the most grandious and poetic epos created by a Norwegian choreographer so far.

Sølvi Edvardsen  Norwegian choreographer, considered one of the nation’s best. She studied at the Ballet Institute, specializing in Indian dance, with her very demanding and own style.  The high artistic standard gave Sølvi Edvardsen Ballet Critics 1984 for her work Kimen (The Seed) and the same prize to dancer Catherine Smith for her performance in the balletTerra  in 1987. Her first full-length ballet,  the ninth in a row for the Collage. Through her carriere she has for several productions been coopearating with contemporary visual artists in different fields.

From Finland Jorma Uotinen is clearly missing. He is an outstanding Finnish dancer, choreographer, and in the later years singer. As a dancer and choreographer, Uotinen has worked both in many dance groups, both in and outside of Finland, since 1970.

The Royal Danish Ballet’s unique position in many ways has long shadowed the emergence of other ballet ensembles in Denmark, especially in modern dance. The opening of the Dance House in Copenhagen in 1987 have strengthened theposition of modern dance, and in 1993 opened a new scene, specifically designed for the modern dance groups. It is also on a trial basis opened a government-sponsored school that provides instruction in modern dance technique. It is firstand foremost postmodernist dance drama, created in collaboration with Danish modern composers, that characterizes the new dance groups. In addition to theaforementioned groups, it is Enjoy the Danish Dance Theatre, led by Anette Abildgaard and Warren Spears. By Danish choreographers, it is particularly Flemming Flindt who has won acclaim for his Enetime (solo lession) etter Ionesco drama.

It seems that the curators, still they have done a great work, only have had their eyes open in only a few directions, and except for the danish virtual artist Olafur Eliasson, dont know that Scandinavia exist.

However the choise the curators has done to present Dance and the Visual Arts in the 2oth and 21 st Cneturies is well done, but definitely not complete. With nearly 450 works they have included a lot. The exhibiton traces the high points of an untold story.

The videodance festival pesents 250 films that trace the history of dance since the beginning of the twentieth century. Numeros events have been organised in association with the exhibition:

16th International Solo-Dance-Theatre Festival Stuttgart

16th International Solo-Dance-Theatre Festival Stuttgart
A Homage to Tanja Liedtke

The Winners Have Been Selected
The 6 winners of the 16th International Solo-Dance-Theatre Festival Stuttgart are the crème de la crème: this year, 24 dancers and choreographers were chosen for the competition from 316 applications and 11 of them entered the finale which took place on sunday evening. At 10 p.m. the winners were announced. They were awarded for their extraordinary performances.

1st prize Choreography: Rodrigue Ousmane. Photo: Lars Menzel

1st prize in choreography
Rodrigue Ousmane with „Leda“ (see photo)
2nd prize in choreography
Eran Gisin with „Emotions, job, emotions, once a day“
3rd prize in choreography
Verena Wilhelm with „Fire and Forget I“

1st prize in dance: Eleesha Drennan with „Whiskers“. (see photo)

1st. Price Dance: Eleesha Drennan. Foto Jo Grabowski

2nd prize in dance
Hugo Marmelada with „Stepping over stones“
3rd prize in dance
Cass Mortimer Eipper with „Body Song“
Audience prize
Hugo Marmelada (choreography and dance) with „Stepping over stones“
The finale was also reached by:
Emma Sandall (choreography) with „Body Song“
Michael Miler (choreography) and Noa Algazi (dance) with „ME-ror“
Paolo Mangiola (choreography) and Fukiko Takase (dance) with „Nuclear Romances“.
The International Solo-Dance-Theatre Festival has been held by the vhs stuttgart since 2006. It enables young dancers and contemporary choreographers to present their pieces to an international top-class jury and an enthusiastic audience.

The Prizes:
1st prize EUR 3.500 donated by the Ministry of
2nd prize EUR 2.500 Science, Research and the Arts
3rd prize EUR 1.500 Baden-Württemberg
1st prize EUR 3.500 donated by the city of Stuttgart
2nd prize EUR 2.500 donated by WALA Dr. Hauschka Kosmetik
3rd prize EUR 1.500 donated by the city of Stuttgart
Audience prize:
EUR 500 donated by Christine Gugel

The Jury:
Christine Brunel (Germany)
Choreographer and dancer
Cristina Castro (Brazil)
Shane Carroll (Australia)
Dancer and dance teacher
Marco Goecke (Germany)
Samuel Wuersten (Netherlands)
Artistic director of the „Holland Dance Festival“.
Head of the Festival: Gudrun Hähnel
Artistic Director: Marcelo Santos
Curators: Marcelo Santos, Petra Mostbacher-Dix, Gudrun Hähnel, Birgit Brinkmann
Presentation: Aylin Bergemann
Funding provided by the city of Stuttgart, the Tanja Liedtke Foundation, the Robert
Bosch Stiftung, the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts Baden-Württemberg,
the Department of Culture and the Arts in West Australia, WALA Dr. Hauschka
Kosmetik, Bürgerstiftung Stuttgart, the embassy of Spain, the consulate general of
Israel, the embassy of Portugal and the Instituto Camões Portugal, Christine Gugel,
the hotel Rieker Novum and goldfish.

Ballet Trocadero Monte Carlo at Folies Bergere, Paris. Autumn 2012!!!!!!!!

Probably:  One of the big events in the Paris Ballet world autumn 2012 will be the guesting of the world famous  Ballet Trocadero Monte Carlo at Folies Bergere:

Ballet Trocadero Monte Carlo at Folies Bergere, Autumn 2012.

The program will be:

From Swan Lake act 2. Musikk Peter Tsjaikovskij

A Pas de Deux

Go Barocco. (satire on Balanchine’s choreography)

Walburgis night (Music Wagner?)

Historically regarding Les Ballets de Trockadero Monte Carlo:

Les Ballets Trocadero de Monte Carlo is an American all-male drag ballet corps which parodies the conventions and clichés of romantic and classical ballet. The company was co-founded by Peter Anastos, Natch Taylor and Antony Bassae in New York City in 1974, producing small, late-night shows, in off-off Broadway lofts. Their first show as on September 9, 1974, at a second story loft on 14th street, in the heart of the meat-packing district. The current artistic director is Tory Dubrin.

After receiving a favorable critical review in The New Yorker by Arlene Croce, it was discovered by a wider audience. The “Trocks” toured the world, with prolonged engagements in many major cities. In 2008 they performed at the Royal Variety Performance in front of Prince Charles.

The dancers portray both male and female roles in a humorous style that combines parodies of ballet, posing and physical comedy with “straighter” pieces intended to show off the performers’ technical skills. Much of the humor is in seeing male dancers en travesti; performing roles usually reserved to females, wearing tutus and dancing en pointe.


Founded in 1974 by a group of ballet enthusiasts for the purpose of presenting a playful, entertaining view of traditional, classical ballet in parody form and en travestiLES BALLETS TROCKADERO DE MONTE CARLO first performed in the late-late shows in Off-Off Broadway lofts.

The TROCKS, as they are affectionately known, quickly garnered a major critical essay by Arlene Croce in The New Yorker, and combined with reviews in The New York Times and The Village Voice, established the Company as an artistic and popular success.

By mid 1975, the TROCKS’ inspired blend of their loving knowledge of dance, their comic approach, and the astounding fact that men can, indeed, dance en pointe without falling flat on their faces, was being noted beyond New York. Articles and notices in publications such as Variety, Oui, The London Daily Telegraph, as well as a Richard Avedon photo essay in Vogue, made the Company nationally and internationally known.

The 1975-76 season was a year of growth and full professionalization. The Company found management, qualified for the National Endowment for the Arts Touring Program, and hired a full-time teacher and ballet mistress to oversee daily classes and rehearsals. Also in this season, they made their first extended tours of the United States and Canada. Packing, unpacking, and repacking tutus and drops, stocking giant sized toe shoes by the case; running for planes and chartered buses all became routine parts of life.

The troupe Ballets Trocadero de Monte Carlo, performs with Shirley MacLaine (center) on her 1977 television special "Where Do We Go From Here?"

Since those beginnings, the TROCKS have established themselves as a major dance phenomenon throughout the world. They have participated in dance festivals in Bodrum (Turkey), Holland, San Luis Potosi, Madrid, Montreal, New York, Paris, Spoleto, Turin, and Vienna.

There have been television appearances as varied as a Shirley MacLaine special, (enjoy photo from 1977) the “Dick Cavett Show,” “What’s My Line?” “Real People,” “On-Stage America,” with Kermit and Miss Piggy on their show “Muppet Babies,” a BBC Omibus special on the world of ballet hosted by Jennifer Saunders and have had their own solo specials on national networks in Japan and Germany, as well as a French television special with Julia Migenes.

A documentary was filmed and aired internationally by the acclaimed British arts program, The South Bank Show. The Company was featured in the PBS program, The Egg, about arts in America, winning an emmy award for the director and appeared in a segment of Nightline in December 2008. Several performances were taped by a consortium of Dutch, French and Japanese TV networks at the Maison de la Danse in Lyon, France, for worldwide broadcast and DVD distribution. Awards that the Trocks have won over the years include for best classical repertoire from the prestigious Critic’s Circle National Dance Awards (2007) (UK), the Theatrical Managers Award (2006) (UK) and the 2007 Positano Award (Italy) for excellence in dance. In December 2008, the Trocks appeared at the 80th anniversary Royal Variety Performance, in aid of the Entertainment Artistes’ Benevolent Fund, in London, in the presence of members from the British royal family, inclusive Prince Charles.

The TROCKS’ numerous tours have been both popular and critical successes – their frenzied annual schedule has included seven tours to Australia and New Zealand, twenty six to Japan (where their annual summer tours have created a nation-wide cult following and a fan club), ten to South America, three tours to South Africa, and sixty four tours of Europe. In the United States, the Company has become a regular part of the college and university circuit in addition to regular dance presentations in cities in 49 states. The Company has appeared in over 30 countries and over 500 cities worldwide since its founding in 1974.

Increasingly, the Company is presenting longer seasons, which have included extended engagements in Amsterdam, Athens, Auckland, Barcelona, Beijing, Berlin, Brisbane, Buenos Aires, Caracas, Cologne, Glasgow, Hamburg, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Lisbon, London, Lyon, Madrid, Melbourne, Moscow (at the famed Bolshoi Theater), Paris (at the Chatelet Theater), Perth, Rome, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, Vienna and Wellington.

The Company continues to appear in benefits for international AIDS organizations such as DRA (Dancers Responding to AIDS) and Classical Action in New York City, the Life Ball in Vienna, Austria, Dancers for Life in Toronto, Canada, and London’s Stonewall Gala. In addition, The TROCKS have given, or participated in special benefit performances for Connecticut Ballet Theater, Ballet Hawaii, Rochester City Ballet, Sadler’s Wells Theater in London and the Gay and Lesbian Community Center and Young Audiences / Arts for Learning Organization, and the Ali Forney Center, benefiting homeless gay youths in New York City. In 2009, the Trocks gave a benefit performance for Thailand’s Queen Sirikit’s Scholarship Fund in Bangkok, which helps finances schooling for children of impoverished Thai families, and helped raise over four hundred thousand dollars.

The original concept of LES BALLETS TROCKADERO DE MONTE CARLO has not changed. It is a Company of professional male dancers performing the full range of the ballet and modern dance repertoire, including classical and original works in faithful renditions of the manners and conceits of those dance styles. The comedy is achieved by incorporating and exaggerating the foibles, accidents, and underlying incongruities of serious dance. The fact that men dance all the parts–heavy bodies delicately balancing on toes as swans, sylphs, water sprites, romantic princesses, angst-ridden Victorian ladies–enhances rather than mocks the spirit of dance as an art form, delighting and amusing the most knowledgeable, as well as novices, in the audiences. For the future, there are plans for new works in the repertoire: new cities, states and countries to perform in; and for the continuation of the TROCKS’ original purpose: to bring the pleasure of dance to the widest possible audience. They will, as they have done for thirty four years, “Keep on Trockin’.”

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, Inc.
is a nonprofit dance company chartered by the State of New York, Eugene McDougle, President; Lucille Lewis Johnson, Vice President; Vaughan de Kirby, Vice President; Tory Dobrin, secretary/treasurer.

TOURNEPLAN 2012 (so far:)
April 3 – 8
Teatro de Bellas Artes, Bogota, Colombia
April 30 – May 6
May 7 – 13
May 14 – 20
Esplanade Theater, Singapore
Thailand Cultural Center, Bangkok, Thailand
Academy of Performing Arts, Hong Kong, China 
June 18, 19
June 27, 28, 29, 30
Kuopio Festival, Kuopio, Finland
Tanzsommer, Insbruck, Austria 
June / July Europe
September 25 – October 7  Follies Bergere, Paris, France
October 26, 27
October 30
November 1
November 3, 4
November 6, 7
November 9 – 11
November 15 – 18
ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre, Auckland, New Zealand
Opera House, Wellington, New Zealand
Civic Theater, Newcastle, Australia
Palais Theater, Melbourne, Australia
Canberra Theater, Canberra, Australia
Her Majesty’s Theater, Adelaide, Australia
Regal Theater, Perth, Australia