NATIONAL ARTS COUNCIL
Public Arts Programme
Programme ID: PAP014219
Impressing the Czar by Dresden Semperoper Ballett
- SYNOPSIS -
da:ns focus: William Forsythe
A rule-breaker, risk-taker, he’s been hailed as ballet’s premier deconstructionist, postmodernist and a living legend—da:ns series 2019 shines a spotlight on William Forsythe through two of his major works created in 1988 and 2016, danced by two world renowned companies—Dresden Semperoper Ballett in March and Paris Opera Ballet in June.
“A rare sight these days, … requires contemporary theatrical flair on top of technical prowess” Financial Times
Golden cherries, ostentatious dresses, a ballet set to classical music—the czar would have been very impressed. But he has long since been swept away, just as living legend William Forsythe tends to sweep away conventional dance for something more radical and peppered with humour; he demonstrates this in the groundbreaking ballet Impressing the Czar, which premiered in 1988.
A four-act, award-winning, postmodern ballet choreographed by the iconic William Forsythe, the work's title is a reference to the Czar Alexander III's lukewarm reception of Marius Petipa's lavish production of The Sleeping Beauty in 1890. While this story ballet has no linear narrative, the ballet comments ironically and often humorously on the history of ballet and the economics of western culture.
The ballet opens to opulent costumes and an elaborate set—a naughty pictorial broadsheet which reveals itself to be a scathing satire and deconstruction of art and dance history. The characters and plot pieces are abound with cultural references: Mr Pnut is a protagonist of sorts who embodies Saint Sebastian, a figure most famously depicted as being impaled by arrows; while golden objects mirror the gilded stucco on churches, a wink at the role of patron/commissioner that the religious institution played in art history.
On its ruins, Forsythe rebuilds a new world: traditional ballet movements are heightened, accelerated and combined anew to create In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated. Originally a stand-alone piece danced by Paris Opera Ballet étoiles Isabelle Guérin, Sylvie Guillem, Laurent Hilaire, and Manuel Legris in 1987, this breathtaking Forsythe masterpiece is in the repertory of numerous ballet companies around the world.
In the two-part finale, dance and dancers alike celebrate themselves, to the sound of electronic beats. The extravagant dresses and sets are gone, and in the end, even the remnants of any cultural heritage are auctioned off. What remains is a whole company of men and women dressed as adolescent schoolgirls cavorting wildly around the stage.
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- DETAILS -
School Special: $16 (For school bookings of 20 or more student tickets.)
Prices includes SISTIC booking fee