Saturday, January 12, 2019

Carmen - A Ballet by Johan Inger

George Bizet's opera "Carmen" is well-known, and the music of Habanera almost every one of us may have hummed away either singing or whistling. It is about a strong woman finding her way in a patriarchal society with all its "unintended" consequences back in the time.

The opera, the voices and the play on stage is what (probably) comes to mind when we hear about "Carmen". Yet, there is another "Carmen". Swedish choreographer Johan Inger created in 2015 a full-evening ballet based on the story that underlies the traditional George Bizet production for the Compania Nacional de Danza in Madrid (Trailer). Only a year later he got the Prix Benois de la Dance, equivalent to an "Oscar of the Ballet World". For this season the artistic director of the Semperoper Ballett in Dresden, Aaron S. Watkin managed to bring this piece on stage at the Semperoper Dresden (Premiere is on January 25, 2019 - at the moment no tickets for that evening).

As always each ballet company with its diversity of cultures, experiences, and context interprets such a piece in very unique ways. Even though we still have to wait for another two weeks to see the piece on stage there has been a great opportunity this morning to dive into the "real thing". Usually twice per season, the Semperoper Ballett gives the opportunity to the general public to follow their training classes and rehearsals of upcoming pieces in their main studio; check for Public Ballet Rehearsals. Of course one never knows what to expect until the very moment when entering the studio and receiving the overview leaflet. So one has to be curious and eager to let oneself be surprised by what emerges on the studio floor.

So we found ourselves today for four hours following the dancers on what is going to be the next great ballet production in Dresden. To get a glimpse of what to expect here the first of "Making of 'Carmen'" videos:

More about "Carmen" (ticket availability, prices, cast, etc.) via the Semperoper website, Semperoper Ballett pages (Instagram, Youtube, Facebook) and of course via the official hashtag on Twitter #SODCarmenBallett.

Reflection on the hours of the morning, in the known and well used #PresencingStatus manner:
  1. Good - having decided for all four hour-long sessions today; experience the diversity of the dancers; getting more excited to see the upcoming; good to see Anna Merkulova back after such a long time; reminding myself of the first connection with the company during the training sessions back at the Open Day 2010 which pulled my interest
  2. Tricky - not having taken the bananas and water upstairs (there was literally no time to get it downstairs); little time to chat
  3. Learned - almost no known faces in the participants' rows (always tricky to make other people curious about something they have no real clue what to expect); people in the resale business who work on Saturdays just miss opportunities like these (we met a neighbour on our way to town in the morning, and he told us that he did not know about that opportunity); time is running pretty fast when you are literally in the "flow" (four hours felt like nothing); ballet is always a place of learning more about human dynamics, and system dynamics in practice
  4. Action - great would be some kind of chat/networking gathering over coffee where dancers, ballet masters, pianists, other persons of the production and interested spectators can meet afterwards (at an appropriate place and time, like a small kind of meetup)

In Two Words:

Don't miss!