XV Dance Open International Ballet Festival
and 55th Anniversary of the Sister Cities Relations of St.Petersburg and Dresden

Alexandrinsky Theatre

April 21, 2016

Dance Open Anniversary Season will have on agenda 3 one-act ballets of Dresden Ballet Company, all different in their style and choreography language. Nevertheless, there is one common feature between them: an attempt to reveal the meaning of dance in our lives. Some people are searching for an answer in a different cultural and mental space while the others take an ironic attitude when addressing their works to ballet critics as they try to clear the genre from excessive and superficial interpretations. In other words, all three masterpieces approach the audience directly, without intermediaries.


Choreography: Alexei Ratmansky
Music: Richard Strauss

For Alexei Ratmansky this ballet piece is more like an exercise in the neo-baroque period. Strauss melodies create an ideal background for the dance. Ratmansky’s choreography language is more about playing with the structure and form; although it is based on the classical ballet material, it also goes in line with the present and the humour.

One can witness a dialogue from different times onstage: just as Richard Strauss in 1923 adapted François Couperin’s Dance Suite, the choreography of Alexey Ratmansky is somehow reminiscent of such ancient dances, as zarabanda, courante and others.

A net of breathtaking and interconnected choreography etudes, subtly and gradually following one another, amazingly entertain by itself. The compositions remind the water in communicating vessels, while changing the shape they preserve the single entity and eventually add up in a complete puzzle, made by a talented artist.

Breathtakingly inventive, formally rigorous and gorgeously dancey.

The New York Times

Ratmansky skillfully embodied Strauss music in movement. The production looks complete.

Sächsische Zeitung


Choreography: Pontus Lidberg
Music: Max Richter

More than seven centuries ago Rumi, a famous Iranian philosopher and poet, wrote the verses that he called “The Worship of the Heart”. His poetry made one believe in the greatness of any human being, he made no difference between a vagabond and a rich man in an exquisite turban. In another millennium a young and restless (and absolutely northern) Pontus Lidberg decided to translate his words in choreography images.

The ancient philosopher helped him with the Sufi rhythmical meditation. Rumi founded the Order of Whirling Dervishes: his students tried to dive into the depths of knowledge through mystical movements to the sound of flute. It was the dance that led them to this knowledge.

Lidberg creates a poetical image of a wandering character who wakes up in order to get to know another type of space. Partly it is the world of meditating conscience, partly — an attempt to look beyond the grave, but mostly it is the spiritual sphere of adjusting cultures. Other cultural values form another universe.

However the driving force behind these universes for Persian sufis and the Swedish choreographer is the same. It is love and no matter how they express it.

This etude was commissioned by the Semperoper Ballett and not only in terms of choreography, the music for it was created by Max Richter in close collaboration with Lidberg. It indicates one more time the desire of Dresden Ballet to create its own unique repertoire programme.

Pontus Lidberg develops a complex unity of dance, music and projection from the rich poetry of Persian mystic Rumi.


The tenderness of the music and the gentleness of the movements spread something like a protective sheath above the excellent "dream-dancers", so that even expressive movements of struggle resolve themselves in poetic melancholy.

Tanznetz/Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten


Choreography: Alexander Ekman
Music: Franz Schubert, Ludwig van Beethoven, Joseph Haydn

Aleksander Ekman's renowned hooliganism is a joyful and intelligent parody of choreography. It is a giggling, affectionate and often hilarious deconstruction of the art form’s greater excesses.

Is it really a parody on choreography only? Ekman admits that it is silly reviews of critics that prompted him make this piece. He believes the fact that critics exist is not fair, for spectators have the right to have their own opinion, too!

Cacti. Cacti are everywhere and they are a metaphor of “the thorns of the humanity”. They are very much alike, like the drops of water. They symbolize non-competent critics. The dancers move around the stage thorny plants and their thorns represent the thorny remarks of critics. Indeed, the artists always have to do all the dirty, ungrateful and hard work when creating a new work.

And, yet…

It might be that cacti are a metaphor of the ballet dancer’s fate? They are capable to adapt to any conditions and they don’t need much sun or water.

And, yet…

It might be that cacti are classical plots, stereotypes of ballet expectations that the audience is very much aware of. And it does not matter what a choreographer wants to tell us, because we will still be waiting for familiar pa and silhouettes.

And, yet…


It had me laughing until tears ran down my face.

Dance Australia

The whip-smart timing of this piece as it juggles these incongruous elements is pure pleasure.

The Guardian

With equal ease he presses the ensemble hard with furious music by Haydn and Beethoven, exposes his dancers’ minds in a subtle duet and makes a suggestive wink to Dada with an absurdist tableau vivant. No lack of ideas here.

De Groene Amsterdammer
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