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In the summer of 2019, eminent choreographer Sasha Waltz and the director of the Swedish Royal Ballet, Johannes Öhman, will begin their term as directors of Berlin State Ballet (Stattsballet Berlin). Waltz will be responsible for artistic matters, while Öhman will be the company?s administrative director. Waltz will replace the Spanish choreographer Nacho Duato, whose 5-year term expires at the end of the 2018/19 season. ?It?s a special moment for me, my ties with Berlin run really deep,? says Waltz.

 

Waltz was appointed by the incumbent mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller. Waltz?s candidacy was also considered back in 2013, when Müller?s predecessor Klaus Wowereit was the one to appoint Nacho Duato as the successor of Vladimir Malakhov. Waltz?s previous collaborations include Berlin?s Schaubühne, where she was Thomas Ostermeier?s deputy director for dance; the Gothenburg Opera, where she worked with Johannes Öhman?at the time the director of the company?who has since supported Walt?z artistic career. While in Sweden, Waltz presented noBody and Körper. This summer, she reciprocated the favor and invited Öhman to help her run the Berlin-based company. ?I?m happy I?m not all alone in this thing, and that I can continue to focus on art,? says Waltz. ?The formula has been a joint project of Sasha and myself,? adds Öhman. Together, they will strive to develop the artistic vision of the Schaubühne, whose repertoire will be an equal mix of classical dance and contemporary dance.

 

Öhman emphasizes that no layoffs are planned in the company, which currently employs 89 dancers. On the contrary, the company may be expanded by infusion of independent artists. Waltz?s own group, ?Sasha Waltz & Guests,? will now be directed by her husband Jochem Sandig. During her 5-year stint with the theater, Waltz plans to present one of her own pieces each year, arriving at a minimum of three world premieres throughout the entire term. Waltz also envisions a collaboration with the Berlin Opera. Waltz has already established herself in joint projects with Berlin-based institutions, including the Staatsoper under Daniel Barenboim and the Deutsches Oper under Donald Runnicles.

 

The Staatsballet?s opening towards contemporary dance is very promising and foreshadows a reformation of its classical character so far. The impact of the tradition of Russian ballet, followed by Vladimir Malakhov, seems to be waning.The new directors of Berlin?s State Ballet may also augur the creation of the House of Dance in the German capital. The project has been discussed for many years, listing the Schiller Theater (to be vacated in 2017) as its possible home. Mayor Müller has not said ?no? to the idea.

 

Source: ?Morgenpost?, 7 September 2016

Photo: Deutsche Presse-Agentur

 

Translated from German by Matylda Małecka.

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