April 13 in St. Petersburg is the start of the 16th Dance Open International Ballet Festival. For 15 seasons, almost all world ballet stars from Vladimir Malakhov to Misty Copeland have performed at the festival. Iconic choreographers such as Hans van Manen, Jean-Christophe Maillot, Alexei Ratmansky, Jiri Bubeníček have presented their works. The program of the festival is unique – it contains both classical and avant-garde performances.
Moreover, Dance Open has long ceased to be a festival for a narrow circle of ballet lovers, and became a meeting point for creative people who are not only fond of ballet, but also know it professionally.
Batsheva Dance Company, The Young Ensemble (Tel Aviv)
‘Naharin’s virus’ is the adaptation of Peter Handke’s play “Offending the Audience”. The performance is partly political: the main stage set is a wall in which the artists are writing the word P-A-L-E-S-T-I-N-A, with a focus on the division of Israelis and Palestinians. In this production, Arabic music is combined with Ohad’s invented dance language Gaga. Freedom of performance, broken movements, extraordinary dancers and their unique plasticity — all this is already firmly associated with the Batsheva Dance Company, which Ohad Naharin has been running for more than 25 years.
Polish National Ballet (Warsaw)
The one to interpret Shakespeare’s poetry in a dance form was Krzysztof Pastor — the staff choreographer of the Dutch National Ballet and the head of the Polish National Ballet . “The tempest” is a ballet in two acts, produced in cooperation with the Het National Ballet in 2014 in Amsterdam. The performance is not an accurate reflection of Shakespeare’s play; it is rather a story about how the choreographer perceived a theatrical text and expressed the magic hidden in it in the form of dance.
In tandem with the Iranian artist Shirin Neshat, the author of conceptual video projections, Krzysztof staged a large-scale theatrical performance, where the East meets the West, and the classical choreography is viewed through the prism of our time. In Russia this performance will be presented for the first time.
SHOOT THE MOON, SILENT SCREEN, THIN SKIN
April 21 and 22
The Netherlands Theater (NDT) Company is well known to the Russian audience. Moreover, many theatergoers see it as a trendsetter of modern dance. The head of the company Paul Lightfoot and his wife, Sol León, have created about 50 works in this project. The ballet “Very Shortly Together” was first brought to Ekaterinburg, and then transferred to the Bolshoi Theater.
Being followers of Jiri Killian and Hans van Manen, they are nevertheless unique in their approach to choreography. Lightfoot and León masterfully transform feelings into plasticity and through imperfections reveal beauty. Dance Open presents two productions of the creative duet: “Shoot the moon” and “Silent screen”. Both performances are the incarnation of the unique choreographic language of Lightfoot and León, in which emotions turn into real plastic stories.
“Thin skin” by Marco Goecke is the third performance of the evening. Goecke is the mystic of the modern ballet. He manages to stump not only the audience, but also artists. “To perform his choreography is like learning Chinese. With Marco, we have to overcome our own boundaries all the time. You are kept at the very limit,” says one of the dancers about work with the choreographer.
“Thin Skin” is is a homage to the American singer and poetess Patti Smith. To her music, tattooed dancers embody plasticity on the verge of human possibilities, which makes their dance elusive
An off-program has traditionally been prepared this year, too: meetings with the choreographers of the scheduled performances and authoritative ballet critics, lectures, workshops — all this will let the public see the dance from completely different angles. The Dance Open will be crowned with a gala concert with the participation of the world ballet stars, including the best tap-dancer in the world, Savion Glover (USA), ABT and the San Francisco Ballet principal Maria Kochetkova, as well as the star of the Bayerische Staatsoper Osiel Gouneo.