Łódź Ballet Festival is a dance biennale and the city’s flagship cultural event dating back almost 50 years. The idea to hold a national ballet festival of this kind sprang up when the Grand Theatre in Łódź was being opened in 1967 as a way to promote the new opera house. The festival was launched in 1968. Originally a local choreographic showcase, over the years the festival has evolved into the biggest and most prestigious ballet event in Poland that is not devoid of international resonance. The Łódź Ballet Festival has welcomed Europe’s leading companies, including Ballet du XXe si?cle (Belgium), Ballet Rambert and Sadler?s Wells Royal Ballet (UK), Ballet National de Marseille (France), Boris Eiffman Ballet Theatre of St. Petersburg (Russia), along with ensembles from Israel, Cuba, Canada, Korea, or the USA. The event boasts appearances by dancing legends (Alicja Alonso, Cristina Hoyos, Jorge Donn, Woytek Lowski) and star choreographers (Maurice Béjart, Roland Petit, Rami Be?er, Ohad Naharin).
This year’s edition takes place at the Grand Theatre in Łódź from 9 to 31 May, featuring French prima ballerina Sylvie Guillem; Les Ballets de Monte Carlo; Phoenix Ballet, Arizona, USA;Teatro alla Scala of Milan; and Ivan Putrov, former Royal Ballet first soloist, accompanied by excellent dancers.
The event will open on 9 May at 7 pm with the premiere ofChopin wymarzony(Chopin Imaginaire), a choreography of Giorgio Madia for the Grand Theatre in Łódź. The production will then be shown on 10 and 12 May. Twenty eight pieces by Chopin (performed live) were used as inspiration for twenty eight dance miniatures in an attempt to capture the moods and emotional landscapes of the music. The outcome is a series of non-linear structure, performed in neoclassical style.
The string of five international productions that will follow (each to be presented twice) begins with a show by an undisputed global dance star Sylvie Guillem that marks the end of her onstage career, Life in Progress. Remembering her extraordinary duet with Russell Maliphant dating 4 years back, it is hard not to consider the chance to witness the extraordinary quality of her movement and artistic expression (possibly for the last time) an absolute must-see. The set includes choreographies by the most prominent dance creators: apart from Maliphant, Guillem will dance pieces by Mats Ek, William Forsythe and Akram Khan.
Men in Motion by Ivan Putrov (2012) explores the changing role of the man throughout history. The juxtaposition of classical choreographies and those that broke away with tradition make up a coherent whole that reflects the dynamics of the process. We will see works by Fokine, Nijinsky, Balanchine, Bourne, and Bordin performed by members of renowned European ballet companies.
The next item on the programme also draws on the past. Exploring the iconic Swan Lake, Lacby Jean Christophe Maillot (performed by Les Ballets de Monte Carlo) is an allegoric tale of clashing opposites and the battle of good and evil. The choreographer transfers the well-known story into the present-day context and asks the resultant questions. While the libretto is used here only as an inspiration, Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s music is preserved in its original form.
Rising by the Ballet Arizona is a series of four individual choreographies showcasing the achievements of the American ballet company from its first premiere in 2014. The pieces have been devised by Sławomir Woźniak (former dancer of the Grand Theatre in Łódź and the Teatr Wielki ? Polish National Opera), Francisco Gella, Albert Blaise Cattafi, and Ricky M. Palomino.
Last but not least, the audience will be treated to Gala by Teatro alla Scala, whose operations date back to 1778. Those who appreciate a truly classical repertoire, will be pleased to see works by such choreographers as Mikhail Fokine, Marius Petipa, or Agrippina Vaganova. The company’s soloist Nicoletta Manni is considered a rising star of international dance, and her presence at the 23rd Łódź Ballet Festival is an answer to the news of Sylvie Guillem’s retirement. This way the organisers express their hope for a new chapter in the history of dance opening soon.
Shows descriptions by Marta Kula; translated by IMiT.
9?10 May and 12 May, 7 pm:
Chopin wymarzony (Chopin imaginaire) ? choreography by Giorgio Madia
15?16 May, 7 pm:
Sylvie Gulliem, Life in Progress
19?20 May, 7 pm:
Ivan Putrov, Men in Motion
23?24 May, 7 pm:
Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, LAC
26?27 May, 7 pm:
Phoenix Ballet, Rising
30?31 May, 7 pm:
Monday?Saturday: midday to 7 pm
Sundays and holidays (and on show days): 3 to 7 pm
tel. + 48 42 633 77 77
Monday?Friday: 8 am to 4 pm
tel.: + 48 42 633 31 86
tel./fax: +48 42 639 87 49
Programme of the 23rd Łódź Ballet Festival