I recently took another short trip to Germany to see Julian dance in a SemperOper Ballett premier. We were thrilled to see him dance in Nordic Lights, October 25 and 27, three contemporary pieces by Swedish choreographers.
We arrived in Germany to a text message asking if we would make it to Dresden by 1 p.m. for what we would call a dress or technical rehearsal in the states. SemperOper makes these “general performances” open to the public, either free or at a much discounted ticket fare.
As usual, our bus was arriving at noon. Despite having been on the road already for 26 hours, we gladly took our seats in the first row to watch Julian dance in all three pieces that comprise Nordic Lights.
The first piece inNordic Lights is by Pontus Lidberg is based on the love poetry of the 13th century Persian poet and mystic Rumi. The second piece, “Walking Mad,” choreographed by Johan Inge, revolves around a rather solid-looking wooden partition, which mutates into a membrane, acting both to separate and to link situations and figures. Ravel’s Boléro accompanies the dancers in their bizarre, surreal or clown-like movements but eventually the comedic mood turns into something darker. Last, Alexander Ekman’s piece, “Cacti,” musicians of a string quartet join 16 dancers on stage for a commentary on performance art. Erratically moving bodies make music through slapping, clapping and breathing, while musicians become integrated into the dance—along with some cacti.
The general performance afforded us a chance to see Julian in “Walking Mad.” This was the only time we would see him in all three of the numbers that comprised Nordic Lights. He was first cast in the other two pieces but second cast in “Walking Mad,” and we had tickets for two performances; in neither was he scheduled to perform “Walking Mad.” (He was scheduled to perform that piece only twice of the five total performances of Nordic Lights, but he actually became sick with the flu and performed it just once.)
While I can’t show you any photos or videos of the premier, I highly recommend you go to the SemperOper Ballett site and watch the video on this page (which is no longer live on the site, but you can still access it). It is on the bottom right. Here is the link, if you have trouble: http://www.semperoper.de/en/ballett/repertoire/spielzeit-201213/detailansicht/details/60025/besetzung/20503.html
In the first clip, Julian is the dancer on the right with the sleeveless shirt sort of squatting down on the right at the beginning and then walking around to the back. You can see him in that piece three more time clearly if you look for the guy in the sleeveless shirt. Once he is partnering on the left side of the stage. In the third piece, Cacti, he is all the way on the far left in the back on a white box. He is almost always the one on the far left at the back although sometimes he moves over or forward a bit.
Look at the revolving photos while they are still available on that page as well. (Julian is in the first photo—also on the top right—catching the other male dancer; he has a sleeveless shirt. In the third photo, he is on the right at the very back behind the white block. You can see him in the first and third video clip as well, but mostly in the first.
SemperOper does a nice job with premiers. You can see from the photo how the opera house is decorated to announce that a premier is about to take place. Also, after the premier we attended a large party in the “house,” as the opera house is called. We got to meet all the choreographers, and to talk with Aaron Watkins, the artistic director, and to generally hang out and dance with many of the members of the company and those who run it. The party lasted until late into the night. There was a DJ and free beer, so you can just imagine the scene! Many happy and relieved people since the premier was very successful. The dancers received numerous standing ovations that night.
We enjoyed seeing the show all three times, but were sorry not to see Julian in “Walking Mad” again. We were even sorrier that when we left he was not feeling well, and he actually ended up missing two of the five performances.
We left him in the company of a new puppy, Lord Fudo. Besides doing some shopping for his apartment, that was the only other thing we did on this trip–go with him to pick up his new “baby.” But that’s a story for another post.
Three-and-half days later…and very tired…we were back on a plane home. Maybe sometime we’ll get to go to Dresden for longer. Right now, that seems to be all Ron and I can manage with our work schedules. We are just so grateful we have managed to get to Germany to see our dancin’ son dance at least twice a year.