Ballet does not recognize verbal boundaries
– so let it step over the viral ones!
From April 14 to April 30, 2020, the International Dance Open ballet festival for the first time presents an online marathon: everyone who wants to can participate in it and without leaving home. A detailed playbill has been posted on danceopen.com and in the festival accounts on social media. The main events will take place on Dance Open's partner platforms — VK.com, Fontanka.ru, Yandex.Efir. Spectators will see the broadcast of performances that cannot be missed, exclusive video postcards of star dancers, the presentation of the author's “family tree” of world ballet, lectures from leading dance critics and ballet storytelling, discussions about the nature of dance and admission to the Dance Open friends club. No matter how difficult the times are, in the course of two April weeks Saint-Petersburg will again become the center of ballet attraction.
Of course, video recording and live performance are two different types of art. But broadcasts on the screen have significant advantages; even if you do not take into account the fact that now it is the only affordable option to get acquainted with theatre content. Firstly, the camera sees and captures what the eye does not have time to look at, wherever you are in the auditorium, and the “assembly” of the performance recording requires special skill of the editing director. Secondly, even at the Dance Open we cannot bring everything we want to: the festival calendar limits us in many ways. Therefore, as part of the online marathon, we show what we wanted, but did not have the opportunity to bring, as well as what the audience of past seasons dreamed to see, but probably did not have possibility to buy a ticket.
Unique film shows of the performances of the Dance Open Cinema will be held in the framework of the "Art Marathon" exclusively on VK.com.
The series of the film shows will be opened by Claude Brumachon's Carmina Burana performed by Le Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève. In the context of recent events experienced by people, this performance "sounds" truly therapeutically. The severity of being, aggression and despair here are shown through a softening art filter — you can look at it point blank, it will not hurt, but fear and depression must be lived and experienced in order to become stronger. There is no literary plot where good fights with the forces of evil: the plot of the ballet is the ideal rhythmic order in music, which meets plastics chaos in choreography. But the unlimited power of life will triumph anyway.
The on-line broadcast will take place on April 14 on VK.com and in the framework of the Fontanka.ru project #nointervals.
The choreographer of both productions is the “wizard” himself, the artistic director of the Dortmund company, Xin Peng Wang, who loves and knows how to work with plots of “big” literature. Dream of the Red Chamber is based on one of the greatest Chinese novels with the same name written in the 18th century by Cáo Xueqín. The history of the rise and fall of the wealthy Jia family with internal upheavals described in the book has become something like our Eugene Onegin or War and Peace for national Chinese identity — generations relate their experience to the tragic love story of young Baoyu and his cousin Lin Daiyu. The Dortmund production, originally carried out together with the Hong Kong Theater, is not limited to being illustrative (although authentic folklore notes are present here), but is looking for a plot connection with modern China, the empire — economic giant. And it is found, not least thanks to the music of Michael Nyman — one of the most innovative modern minimalist composers, the author of the soundtracks for the films The Piano, The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover, and Gattaka. The broadcast of the ballet Dream of the Red Chamber will be held on VK.com on April 16.
The literary plot of the second performance of the Dortmund Ballet — Goethe's Faust — does not require presentation. Xin Peng Wang, as always, asks questions on behalf of those who live today, highlighting their interpretation with a non-trivial choice of music: Henryk Górecki’s score and Rammstein’s songs are adjacent here. Is modern man being destroyed by the insatiable thirst for knowledge, more and more looking similar to destructive arrogance? Details indicating the time of the action are minimized, and Goethe's mystical plot is brought to the level of the parable: is there any hope for salvation, for liberation (“Erlösung!” — this is exactly the name of the second part of a large three-hour ballet) after the experience lived by mankind in the 20th century? Thought-provoking material will be available on April 26. The on-line broadcast will take place on VK.com and in the framework of the Fontanka.ru project #nointervals.
Theatre gift from the Ballet of Slovene National Theatre Maribor and Edward Clug — the Stabat Mater ballet, which the Dance Open will exclusively show on VK.com on April 18, is hard to overestimate. The medieval Catholic sequence “Stabat mater dolorosa” (“The grieving Mother stood ...”), which tells of one of the most piercing gospel stories, takes on a real opera volume in Giovanni Battista Pergolesi’s music. Hope is the defining concept for the choreographer in this music. From here comes a detached thoughtfulness, without imposing a specific plot and said names.
In the Bolero score of Maurice Ravel, which has countless choreographic interpretations, the Italian choreographer Mauro de Candia first heard a dystopia. On stage, the artists of the Osnabrück Dance Theater are in uniform, under cold light and in puffs of smoke. The set design is ascetic. Plastic language is streamlined and laconic: the world, where the individualities are destroyed goes to a disaster. There is again something to think about, and it’s clear where to move to move on. The show will take place on VK.com on April 20.
On April 22, VK.com will host the online broadcast of the Dance Open — 2018 hit: all adults who have forgotten that they were once fourteen should definitely watch the Nutcracker by Jeroen Verbruggen. In the online marathon program, this is another psychotherapeutic session from Le Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève: either a fairy tale about finding a soul mate, or an animated blockbuster in the spirit of Tim Burton, or an unpredictable quest through the Wonderland, where youth looks for itself and loses itself in hundreds of reflections and dozens of the doors. Here, each step has a butterfly effect: you shout, but where you are heard and who will respond is not to guess. But the nutshell of fear and doubt will surely crack when love comes.
The French choreographer Thierry Malandain repeatedly came to Russia. We are accustomed to his signature: he is a master at speaking beautifully about complex things. “Pastoral”, which Dance Open will show on April 24 — that`s Beethoven`s “Pastoral” Sixth Symphony and Cantata op.112. The premiere of the performance took place in December 2019, but appears to be especially relevant today. The idea of the choreographer is that we are all closed in our space and forced to deal with our own demons, but not to destroy the world around us. The finale is in a completely Beethoven spirit: harmony can only be achieved together with other people and in unity with nature.
The playbill of the Dance Open Cinema Hall is flexible: negotiations with companies on the provision of new records are ongoing, which means that at any time in the online marathon program one more performance from any corner of the Earth may appear.
Today, not only professionals, but also amateurs are taught the art of ballet — of course, if we talk about performing skills. But are they taught to watch, to see and to understand ballet? For the audience such a theoretical basis is no less important than for the artists — the form and technique.
As part of the Dance Open online marathon, for the first time we are launching a series of author talks from Russian leading dance critics and choreography historians. These virtual meetings are designed for everyone: for experienced ballet lovers who want to hear valuable details from the mouth of authoritative speakers, and first of all for those who have a lot of questions while watching ballet. Why are we “magnetized” to dance? How do you distinguish yourself in order for your name to become a dance brand? About this and much more — online in the unique video course Universities of Ballet.
An introduction to the global choreographic context, the mandatory “minimum program” will be presented by Vita Khlopova, a researcher of modern choreography, a curator and creator of the project No fixed points. Her lecture “Top 5 Choreographers of the 20th Century to Know About” will be held on April 15.
On April 19, dance-columnist with Sobaka.ru, special correspondent for the online journal about ballet La Personne Ballet Magazine, author of the VeryBallet telegram channel Olga Ugarova will give a lecture How to watch ballet: instruction.
Is it true that dance gives a person special inner strength? On April 21, a dance critic, a columnist with Rossiyskaya Gazeta, an expert and a jury member of the Golden Mask national theater award Leyla Guchmazova with the theme Let`s dance: the best cure for coronavirus or why we are drawn to the dance will reflect on this.
The travel guide for some past and present ballets — and a story about why the choreographers invent new nationalities: northern gypsies or the Ural people, will be represented by the assistant for Ural Opera Ballet art director Bogdan Korolek: his lecture National Geographic: ballet version will end the course on April 23.
“DANCE AS A LIFESTYLE. EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO ASK ABOUT THE BALLET”
Dance lovers, and particularly those who are just looking out for it, have many FAQs (frequently asked questions), that they would like to get vivid and concrete answers to — cleared of myths, legends and speculation. Why do ballerinas dance on pointe shoes? Who invented the tutu? Do dancers eat at all, and if so, then what? What kind of mysterious box stands next to the backstage during the performance? Why is the ballet floor inclined?
Together with the Fontanka.ru portal, Dance Open asked the most interesting questions to authoritative dance critics and collected their answers — this turned out to be a real guide for the beginner ballet lover, the online presentation of it is scheduled for April 17. After studying all the materials, it will be easy not only to maintain a conversation with a glass of sparkling wine in the interval, but also to plunge into the history of ballet on your own in a more substantive way — the reader will already have the necessary theoretical base. And if the answer to any of the questions was not found, you can leave them on the website of Fontanka.ru until April 24. The most interesting ones will be personally answered by the head of the Dance Open festival Ekaterina Galanova.
“ENRICO CECCHETTI AND BALLET OF XXTH CENTURY” — premiere of the Dance Open online encyclopedia.
In the craft of dance, which literally has been studied for generations "from foot to foot", everything is connected: "succession" here is the main mechanism for preservation and development. And if you try to draw a “family tree” of world ballet, so many artists, coaches and choreographers will be creative relatives to each other.
This year marks the 170th anniversary of the dancer and coach, whose name sounds much less frequently than the brilliant Petipa, but whose contribution to the development of ballet of the 20th century is great.
At the end of the 19th century, Enrico Cecchetti worked in Russia, then in the Sergey Diaghilev company and in his own ballet school in London, and the revival of the ballet school of La Scala in Milan was also connected with his name. From Cecchetti, the threads of continuity lead to names and companies that define the face of modern ballet theater. Just a couple of examples: Enrico’s student Lyubov Yegorova raised a key figure of the Dutch National Ballet, Sonia Gaskell, Rosella Hightower, Roland Petit, Maurice Béjart. The student of Cecchetti Ninette de Valois created The Royal Ballet, and his ward Alicia Markova, a legend of British theater.
In collaboration with leading Russian experts of the ballet theater, Dance Open tried to create a "family tree" of world ballet, powered by a root named "Enrico Cecchetti". Of course, we in no way claim to be inclusive: in this project we collected only the brightest stars – 89 characters, 40 author essays and 127 rare photos.
Many of the heroes of the online encyclopedia, including Hans van Manen, Manuel Legris, Jean-Christophe Maillot, Pierre Lacotte, Sol Leon, are participants of the festival, and, therefore, are the heroes who directly connect Cecchetti and the Dance Open, feeding our interest and grandiose project development plans.
The project will be available on danceopen.com from April 25.
Hot Culture is the author’s project of the St. Petersburg cultural trader, TV and radio journalist Alexander Malich; one of the most popular youtube channels about culture and art in Russia. The format is an interview “about art, about those who make it, and those who love it, about the most interesting, most important in Russian and world culture today".
The Hot Culture and Dance Open collaboration was invented to discuss the nature of dance and its place in the modern world with people who are not directly related to academic ballet.
So a series of special editions was born, where Alexander Malich’s interlocutors became one of the best electro-style dancers in the world, the resident of the first Russian vogue community House of Bonchince and the head of the Move & Prove electronic dance festival Timofey Smirnov; Tatyana Parfenova, a fashion designer and founder of her own fashion house; gallery owner and collector Marina Gisich, founder and CEO of the biotechnological company BIOCAD Dmitry Morozov, calligrapher artist Pokras Lampas.
Watch on the Hot Culture channel on April 20, 24, 26, 28 and 30.
DANCE OPEN: FAVORITES FROM THE HISTORY OF THE PAST SEASONS
The culmination of the festival is the Gala concert of the Dance Open stars — an evening for which ballet fans from all over Russia and Europe specially gather in the Northern capital. Each Gala program is a kind of limited edition of actual choreography, work on which takes place 365 days a year. Long searches, hours-long flights, hundreds of watched performances, creative disputes, calls, negotiations — all this in order to organize an exclusive concert from the best that was and will be in world ballet. And so it is many years in a row.
This year, the Stars Gala was to be held on April 27, and it will take place, but in online format. And the concert will be much longer than usual. The video chronicle of the best performances of Dance Open has been going on for more than 10 years, and this time the Golden Collection will be presented to the attention of the ballet lovers — true masterpieces of world choreography and the constellation of artists. We are making true our old dream and are launching a video trilogy — the only broadcast will take place on the platform of the festival partner Yandex.Efir on April 27, 28 and 29, beginning at 19 o’clock. On April 30, one more Dance Open gift awaits for all fans of dance: a video history of Russian ballet of a century and a half: from Arthur Saint-Léon and Jules Perrault to Boris Eifman and Yuri Possokhov. The film includes fragments of world choreographic masterpieces performed at the Dance Open Gala by the best dancers of the planet, and vivid video sketches will tell about each of the masters. The film will be shown on VK.com.