Alexandrinsky Theatre

April 16, 2016

Philosophically minded critics like to call our time the era of allusions and reminiscences. The mankind has accumulated such a wealth of knowledge, experience, impressions and thoughts embodied on canvas and paper, in music and dance that it seems impossible to come up with something new that would not be a quote, replica, or at least a reference to the great works of the past. The White and Black is an example of how art is conceived today, not from a scratch but as an attempt of Wiener Staatsballett to reconsider the experience of the great artists of the past — Leonardo, Perrault and Rossini - from the standpoint of a man of the 21st century.


Choreography: Jiří Bubeníček
Music: Johann Sebastian Bach, Johann Pachelbel, Roman Hoffstetter, Otto Bubeníček

Once upon a time on the summer evening of 2007 Marie-Agnès Gillot presented to Jiří Bubeníček an album of Da Vinci reproductions. Looking through the album Jiří thought how the titans of the Renaissance worshipped the radiant life and its sister, death. The appearance and disappearance, coming into this world and departure to the mysterious far end — two sides of the same coin, two highest points of the amplitude of the eternally swinging pendulum… Let there be light in joy, but let there be also light in sorrow, for it indicates the beginning of a new cycle, new round of an eternal spiral.

Jiří Bubeníček’s Le Souffle de l’esprit meets the highest esthetics standards.

Silvia Karg, ballet critic

The dancers literally radiate the frantic obsession with the movement, in these moments the audience freezes, breathless.


In the final part of Le Souffle de l’esprit a small universe is discovered: the trio performs the dance that takes the breath away to the famous canon of Pachelbel. Bubeníček frees himself from any stylistic bounds and let the dancers in impulsive movements first find each other and later lose again.



Choreography: Paul Lightfoot and Sol León
Music: Gioachino Rossini

This lovely bric-à-brac created by Paul Lightfoot and Sol León 20 years ago has become a part of the international repertoire. A golden enamel of Rossini’s overture written in calligraphic handwriting does not give a second for exhalation, but now and then there are blots and characters written the other way round among the lines.

These 15 minutes require a virtuoso technique and comic abilities from artists. How complicated it is to demonstrate the perfect flexibility and clumsiness at the same time, to keep up with the furious pace of the music and leisurely roll over from emotion to emotion, draw a difficult and fancy choreographic pattern and make funny faces. Only big artists can do that.

Skew-Whiff is an amazing production that can captivate and fascinate the audience.

Die Presse

In Skew-Whiff we see a passionate courtship dance of three males around one lady. Witty, surprising, touching.


Paul Lightfoot and Sol Leon's Skew-Whiff, performed to Rossini's Thieving Magpie overture and proving that classic and contemporary can exist in perfect harmony and even fuse to give us something both funny and exciting.

The Stage


Choreography: Stephan Thoss
Music: Philip Glass

It is difficult for men and women to find the common ground and the old fairy tale about Knight Bluebeard confirms that. But it is never too late to try again. That is — almost never… This ballet shows us where the desire and ability to love come from. It shows us what hinders the growth and bloom of this fragile flower. It is about an eternal longing to be understood.

In fact, they both want to be happy. Experienced Bluebeard dreams of being loved and understood. Young Judith, who gets to know this mysterious world for the first time, wants to bathe in love and give it away without counting.

But the past lies between them. Here is the truth of our time: today very few of us remain faithful to the first love for life. Most of us, just like Bluebeard, transfer our emotional and sexual experience into the new relations. Lost love leaves scars and traces in the human soul and affects all future relations. Everyone has a skeleton in the closet and we expect our new soul mate to accept it.

All of us rather early in life realize that there might be a collapse in love, acquire uncertainty and mistrust in a partner, but we all, nevertheless, firmly believe that love can cure everything.

Bluebeard takes Judith around the castle of his memory. By opening the doors, one by one, he shares with the wife a part of his life in order to see whether she would be able to accept it.

Finally, they stop in front of the last door. Judith has to open it herself, for it hides the most lurking secret — the memories of the mother. Every man was once a tender child, and if he was taken care of and loved by his mother, then he will be capable to love himself. And if she was cold and indifferent, how could a grown-up man know what the love is? He cannot trust his feelings as he did not learn how to do it in his childhood.

And this is what makes the most intimate secret of Bluebeard. Although Judith managed to break this spell, the future of her love is still open. Any equilibrium in relations is temporary and the balance may change at any time. Which means that the story goes on.

The ballet again reveals the harmony of liberated bodies as only love can do. Stefan Toss demonstrates that love itself can dance if we let it do it.

Neue Zürcher Zeitung

The history of Bluebeard is only a metaphor through which Toss can subtly tell us about the twists and turns of love, about guilt and pain, and the strength of two people who, despite everything, decided to continue their relations.

Die Deutsche Bühne

Dynamically, brutally and with blinding flashes of passion Thoss tells us the history of one fateful affair.

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