The Extraordinary Men of Stuttgart Ballet

United KingdomUnited Kingdom, Various Composers, Made in Germany: Stuttgart Ballet, Sadler’s Wells, London, 18.11.2013 (JO’D)

 Hommage au Bolshoi
Dancers: Maria Eichwald, Filip Barankiewicz
Choreography: John Cranko
Music: Alexander Glazunov

Fancy Goods
Dancers: Friedemann Vogel, Jesse Fraser, Clemens Fröhlich, Fabio Adorisio, Roger Cuadrado,  Cedric Rupp
Choreography: Marco Goecke
Music: Sarah Vaughn
Stage and Costumes: Marco Goecke
Lighting Design: Udo Haberland
Solo from Ssss
Dancer: Pablo von Sternenfels
Choreography: Edward Clug
Music: Frédéric Chopin
Sets and costumes: Thomas Mika
Lighting Design: Edward Clug

Little Monsters
Dancers: Elisa Badenes, Daniel Camargo
Choreography: Demis Volpi
Music: Elvis Presley
Costumes: Katharina Schlipf

Le Grand Pas de Deux
Dancers: Alicia Amatriain, Jason Reilly
Choreography: Christian Spuck
Music: Gioachino Rossini
Costumes: Nicole Krahl

III Movement from Initials R.B.M.E.
Dancers: Maria Echwald, Evan McKie, corps de ballet
Choreography: John Cranko
Music: Johannes Brahms
Set and Costumes: Jürgen Rose
Pas de deux from Kazimir’s Colours
Dancers: Anna Osadcenko, Freidermann Vogel
Choreography: Mauro Bigonzetti
Music: Dimitri Shostakovich
Costumes: Lucia Socci
Lighting Design: Carlo Cerri
Pas de deux from Romeo and Juliet
Dancers: Hyo-Jung Kang, Alexander Jones
Choreography: John Cranko
Music: Serge Prokoviev
Sets and Costumes: Jürgen Rose

Pas de deux from The Lady of the Camellias
Dancers: Sue Jing Kang, Marijn Rademaker
Choreography: John Neumeier
Music: Frédéric Chopin
Sets and Costumes: Jürgen Rose

Fanfare LX
Dancers: Anna Osadcenko, Evan McKie
Choreography: Douglas Lee
Music: Michael Nyman
Dancer: Marijn Rademaker
Choreography: Marco Goecke
Music: Johnny Cash
Costumes: Marco Goecke
Lighting Design: Udo Haberland
Mono Lisa
Dancers:  Alicia Amatriain, Jason Reilly
Choreography: Itzik Galili
Musical Concept and Composition: Thomas Höfs, Iztik Galili
Costumes:  Natasja Lansen
Lighting Design:  Iztik Galili

Finale from the seventh blue
Dancers: Elena Bushuyeva, Damiano Pettenela, Rachele Buriassi, Roland Havlica, Ami Morita,David Moore, Miriam Kacerova, Jesse Fraser, Alessandra Tognolini, Robert Robinson, Elisa Badenes, Arman Zazyan, Angelina Zuccarini, Roman Novitzky
Choreography: Christian Spuck
Music:  Franz Schubert
Sets: Christian Spuck
Costumes: Miro Paternostro
Lighting Design: Andreas Rinkes

“The men really are extraordinary here:” Stuttgart Ballet artistic director, Reid Anderson, said about his own company to Gerald Dowler in the June issue of Dancing Times, “they are tall, good-looking and they can do everything technically.” Many of the thirteen works (by nine, male choreographers) in the company’s Sadler’s Wells Made in Germany programme seem designed to demonstrate this. Three are solos for a male dancer, and in the pas de deux the focus is often on the male dancer’s semi-naked (sometimes more than that) body as his partner moves, or is swung, around him.

The works performed cover a timespan from 1964 to 2001, each one created for this company in which over half the dancers are graduates of founder John Cranko’s School. By including thirteen works, the programme consciously avoids the often-used ‘triple bill’ format, but is nonetheless divided into three sections separated by intervals. Outstanding in the first section is Mark Goecke’s Fancy Goods (2009), which includes the first male solo. With his bare back ‘exposed’ to the audience much of the time, Friedemann Vogel moves only his arms, or ripples his body to the point at which it becomes almost unrecognizable as a body. The recorded music is Sarah Vaughn, singing about love. This emphasizes the man’s isolation as he appropriates the deep-pink, show-girl feathers that five, black-suited figures around him hold up in front of their never seen faces.

A work by John Cranko, III Movement from Intials R.B.M.E. (1972) opens the second section. Set to music by Brahms, it contains the most lyrical moment of the evening. As they are raised low in the air and carried offstage by their male partners, the women of the corps take small steps that let their legs remain in an almost vertical position. (‘Lovely!’ a man in the audience was moved to exclaim.) In what can often seem to be the ‘man’s world’ of the Stuttgart Ballet, Anna Osadcenko’s yearning gestures in Mauro Bigonzetti’s Pas de deux from Kazimir’s Colours (1996) are remarkable for the way in which they reach beyond the space of the stage. The piece is about her, as much as about her partner, and benefits from lighting that does not (for once) simply shine on the man’s body, but reveals it through light and shade. Pas de deux from Cranko’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and from John Neumeier’s ‘The Lady of the Camellias’ follow. Although the dancers in each (Hyo-Jung Kang and Alexander Jones; Sue Jin Kang and Marijn Rademaker) clearly show movement as an expression of the emotions (the beginnings of love in the former, the end of it in the latter), as ‘extracts’ from longer ballets these period-costumed pieces do not quite satisfy.

The programme begins with Cranko’s Pas de deux: Hommage au Bolshoi (1964), in which a ballerina is lifted high in the air in different ways by her partner. When the male dancer in Douglas Lee’s Fanfare LX (2009) lifts his partner, it is not to place her triumphantly in the air but to allow her to extend and to split her legs to acrobatic extremes, almost to split herself open. He, for his part, does the same, with one foot on the ground, as Michael Nyman’s music follows its inexorable course. Mark Goecke’s solo, Äffi (2005), starts, like his ‘Fancy Goods’, with the back of its male dancer presented to the audience, but is a darker, more sexually explicit piece for which dancer Marijn Rademaker was applauded and cheered. Jason Reilly has his shirt on at the start of Itzik Galili’s Mono Lisa (2003), only to remove it halfway through. His partner, Alicia Amatriain, who has danced as a man in drag, basically, in the opening section (in Christian Spuck’s 1999 send-up of classical ballet’s adagio and variations, Le Grand Pas de Deux) now has the chance to dance as a woman (if to perform extensions that are acrobatic and extreme is to dance as a woman). It is only at the very end of the programme, in Finale from the seventh blue (2003), a work for the corps de ballet, again by Spuck, that three female dancers are to be seen on the stage, looking at each other independently of men, and smiling.

John O’Dwyer

2 thoughts on “The Extraordinary Men of Stuttgart Ballet”

  1. Hi,

    I’m trying to locate Andreas Rinkes; I see that he worked for you in 2013. We’re looking to hire him.

    Do you have a contact number or agent number for him.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Kind regards,
    Claudia Rose Gole


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