Monaco Dance Forum welcomes Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève, and a film presentation by Jiří Kylián Productions to the Grimaldi Forum in Monte-Carlo this month.
The Geneva Ballet – a company of 22 classically trained dancers from around the world – is known for its neo-classical and contemporary style, and also for its adventurous repertoire and imaginative collaborations. During its forthcoming season in Monaco, the Company will perform two powerful works – Ken Ossola’s Lux, and Glory by Andonis Foniadakis.
Ken Ossola started choreographing whilst dancing with the Nederlands Dans Theater, working with some of the world’s leading contemporary exponents of the art – from Jiří Kylián to William Forsythe. Having subsequently launched his career as a freelance dancer-choreographer, he simultaneously took up the position of Ballet Master for Gothenburg Ballet, and became a rehearsal coach for Nederlands Dans Theater. Now, alongside his flourishing choreographic career, he has become a specialist in the works of Jiři Kylián, recreating them for a number of dance companies throughout the world.
In Lux, set to Gabriel Fauré’s beautifully poignant Requiem, Ossola has his dancers weaving in and out of a shadowy landscape, using this intriguing effect to accentuate their movements – at times sharply defined, at others more fluid and lyrical. Here’s a selection of scenes from Lux
Foniadakis’ Glory is, by contrast, a highly dramatic work, set to a collection of pieces by Handel arranged by Julien Tarride. Here, the choreography is characterised by a compelling urgency, with the dancers thrown into a fast-moving display of virtuosity, for which Foniadakis is well known – as can be seen in this video clip.
Foniadakis studied at the State Dance School of Athens, and won the Maria Callas Scholarship to further his studies at the Rudra-Béjart School in Lausanne. He joined the Béjart Ballet before moving to the Lyon Opéra Ballet, and subsequently the Saburo Teshi-gawara/Karas Co. In 2003 he created his own company, Apotosoma, in Lyon, and in addition to creating and performing across Europe and in the US, he teaches seminars based on his personal dance technique, and has also been commissioned to choreograph for two operas – Rameau’s Les boreades for Opera National du Rhin, and Claudio Ambrosini’s Il canto de la pelle for GRAME Lyon.
The programme by Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève is followed by the European Premiere of Kylián Productions’ presentation of East Shadow, a work commissioned as part of the 2013 Aichi Trienniale in Nagoya, Japan, part of which was dedicated to the legacy of one of the greatest writers of the 20th century – Samuel Beckett. Kylián was asked to create an original work for this festival on the theme of the Fukushia tsunami of 2011. He delivered a film which was inspired by the somewhat disconcerting world of Samuel Beckett, set to the music of Schubert, and dedicated to the victims of the Fukushima disaster.
In Kylián’s own words, “…. Two people, a man and a woman meet and decide to move into an apartment, which they would like to call their home…. soon, through some surreal, humorous and tragic circumstances, they realize that their happiness is only a wishful thinking – an utopia….finally they are washed away by an earthquake and a tsunami – only their hats are left behind – otherwise nothing, nothing at all. They were just ‘simple’ people….”.
The performers in East Shadow are dancer and choreograher Gary Chryst – regarded as one of the finest as one of the finest character dancers in American ballet – and former member of the Stuttgart Ballet and Nederlands Dans Theater, Sabine Kupferberg.
Multi-award-winning Kylián is arguably one of the most prolific of contemporary choreographers. Having studied at the Prague Conservatory, he won a scholarship to study at the Royal Ballet, where John Cranko invited him to join the Stuttgart Ballet – the start of his choreographic career. Kylián subsequently took up the position of Artistic Co-director of Nederlands Dans Theater, for which he has created 74 ballets, and was instrumental in setting up the unique three-dimensional structure of the Company. He has created original works for the Stuttgart Ballet, the Paris Opéra Ballet, Swedish Television, Bayerisches Staatsballett München and the Tokyo Ballet, and his creations are in the repertoires of more than 100 companies and schools worldwide.
The Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève appears at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco on 15 and 16 April, and Kylián’s East Shadow runs at the Salle Prince Pierre, Grimaldi Forum, on 17 and 18 April.