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Esplanade Presents | da:ns series

Dance

Impressing the Czar by Dresden Semperoper Ballett

Choreographed by William Forsythe
(Germany)
15 & 16 Mar 2019Fri & Sat
8pm
8pm
2hrs 15mins (including 20min intermission)
Esplanade Theatre

Admission ageAdmission for ages 6 and above.

There will be a talk with the artist after each performance.
This event is over

$40*, $60**, $80^, $100^, $120^

Limited concessions for students, NSFs and seniors: $30*, $50**

^Esplanade&Me Early Bird Special

(till 20 Jan 2019)

White card: 15% savings
Black card: 20% savings

^Esplanade&Me Special

(from 21 Jan 2019 onwards)

White card: 10% savings
Black card: 15% savings

^Package of 4 Special

(ends 16 Mar 2019)

Buy 4 tickets to Dresden Semperoper Ballett and Paris Opera Ballet or Cloud Gate Dance Theatre to enjoy 10% off. Include at least one ticket to Dresden Semperoper Ballett and Paris Opera Ballet or Cloud Gate Dance Theatre, and cannot be used with other promotions.

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School Special: $15

For school bookings of 20 or more student tickets. Limited tickets available. Applicable to all local schools from secondary level and above. For details and school bookings, please contact Esplanade Box Office at 6828 8389 or email: boxoffice@esplanade.com

Tote Board Arts Grant

All Secondary Schools (Upper Sec), Junior Colleges / Centralised Institute & ITEs may use the Tote Board Arts Grant to subsidise up to 50% of the programme cost.


For more details, please contact Esplanade Box Office at 6828 8389 or email boxoffice@esplanade.com.

More details +

“Expect a mighty spectacle that seems to mash up the mathematical poise of Balanchine, the rich tableaux of Pina Bausch, cabaret slapstick, Renaissance marble sculpture, and a Psy video performed by an army of Catholic school girls… In a madcap, playful way, the four-act work frames Forsythe’s technical and choreographic innovations with a commentary about ballet history, the changing social context of stage performance, and the decline of Western civilization itself.”
ArtsEquator
“A rare sight these days, … requires contemporary theatrical flair on top of technical prowess”
Financial Times

da:ns focus: 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 and Paris Opera Ballet.


“Expect a mighty spectacle that seems to mash up the mathematical poise of Balanchine, the rich tableaux of Pina Bausch, cabaret slapstick, Renaissance marble sculpture, and a Psy video performed by an army of Catholic school girls… In a madcap, playful way, the four-act work frames Forsythe’s technical and choreographic innovations with a commentary about ballet history, the changing social context of stage performance, and the decline of Western civilization itself.” ArtsEquator
“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.

Fringe Activities

Join Aaron S. Watkin in this talk where he will share his insights to decoding William Forsythe's work and his experiences leading Dresden Semperoper Ballett 

16 Mar, Sat, 5.30pm
library@esplanade

Dance Masterclass with Dresden Semperoper Ballett 
16 Mar, Sat, 3:30pm
Esplanade Rehearsal Studio

More info here

 

About William Forsythe
William Forsythe is one of the most influential ballet choreographers and directors of the late 20th century, who has been active in the field of choreography for over 45 years.

His choreographic style is both postmodern and deconstructivist. Believing that classical ballet is a language with rules to follow, his interest lies in bending and eventually breaking the rules. Using traditional positions, he develops them to the extreme where geometries of classical ballet are twisted, tilted or pulled out of line.

His work is acknowledged for reorienting the practice of ballet from its identification with classical repertoire to a dynamic 21st century art form. 

About Dresden Semperoper Ballett
Founded at the beginning of the 19th century, Dresden Semperoper Ballett has defined itself as a contemporary ballet company, mastering a wide-ranging repertoire that includes full-length ballet classics, iconic works of great masters of our time, and creations by new up-and-coming choreographers. It is led by artistic director Aaron S. Watkin, who was a personal choreographic assistant to William Forsythe. Watkin’s artistic vision for the company is based upon removing the borders that traditionally exist between classical and contemporary dance styles and redefining dance as the culmination of both.

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Things To Note

Road closures around Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay on 28 Mar 2019 | More info 

Temporary closure of the Esplanade Roof Terrace (Level 4) | More info 

Admission for ages 6 and above, unless otherwise stated.

Ticketing: Prices exclude ticketing agent’s booking fees. Esplanade only grants event entry to ticket holders with tickets that have been purchased through authorised ticket agents.

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General Advisory

For information about late seating, house rules, photography and more, please refer to our general advisory.