Interview with John Neumeier

A wonderful interview with the director of the Hamburg Ballett where he reveals that he actually choreographed all the Mahler symphonies, not only the third!

Merce Cunningham (1919-2009)

In the spring of 1981, during a residency at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, choreographer Merce Cunningham and composer John Cage sat down to discuss their work and artistic process. As frequent collaborators, Cage and Cunningham pioneered a new framework of performance. Their novel approach allowed for mediums to exist independently, or rather cohabitate, within a performance, thus abandoning the co-dependent model of dance and music. Cage and Cunningham go on to discuss the methodology and motivations behind chance operations, a term used to describe artistic decisions based on unpredictability. Wanting to free himself of his likes and dislikes, Cage describes how Zen Buddhism influenced his work, leading him to use tools of chance. These new methods, adopted by both Cunningham and Cage, overturned a whole foundation of thought around music, movement, and the process of creating art.




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The Bullfighter and the Ballerina

Curtis Wenzel in Minneapolis just tipped us on this wonderful Kickstarter project:

An edition of hand-made books about a ballerina who fell in love with the bullfighter-comedian Cantinflas in Mexico City. “El Toreador y La Bailarina” is a hand-typed, hand-built, hand-bound love story. It’s an artist’s book about the romance between my ballerina mother and the Mexican actor, bullfighter and comedian Cantinflas in Mexico City, 1941.

Read more about the project on Kickstarter here.

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Russian Bolshoi arts director Filin hurt by acid attack

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The artistic director of Russia’s Bolshoi Theatre, Sergei Filin, is being treated in a Moscow hospital for severe burns to his face after a masked man threw acid in his face, police say.

The attack happened late on Thursday as Mr Filin, an award-winning ballet star, was walking home in central Moscow.

Doctors are now fighting to save his eyesight and Interfax news agency says he will be sent to a clinic abroad.

A Bolshoi spokesman said Mr Filin, 42, had suffered months of threats.

The BBC’s Steve Rosenberg in Moscow says it is suspected that he was the victim of infighting and rows between different groups of dancers at the Bolshoi.

According to the Bolshoi statement, the assailant shouted to Mr Filin as he was approaching the entrance to his apartment block, then threw acid in Mr Filin’s face.

Read the full article on the BBC web site here.

La Péri – Ballet in two acts

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Vladimir Malakhov has drawn inspiration from historic lithographs to create a new staging of the romantic ballet LA PÉRI for the Staatsballett Berlin. Like the sylphids, the wilis and all the other unattainable fairy and elfin beings that populated the 19th century ballet stage in great numbers and in many new interpretations, the péris are oriental heavenly creatures that embody Prince Achmed’s yearning for another form of existence. A beautiful péri appears to him with her retinue and promises him redemption: she promises that the barrier between Heaven and Earth can be overcome by the power of love. The ballet LA PÉRI was first performed in 1843 at the Paris Opéra. Friedrich Burgmüller composed the music, and Théophile Gautier’s libretto was translated into dance by the choreographer Jean Coralli. Vladimir Malakhov’s interpretation of the ballet is expressed in a refined and delicate dance style, which was characteristic of the romantic era and follows naturally from the music. The stage and costume designer, Jordi Roig, has lovingly created an opulent, historic setting in which the atmosphere of the exotic scene is brought to life and the ballet can work its unique magic. [Source]