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Launching the 6th Days of Dance, the Teatr Wielki ? Polish National Opera in Warsaw presents its first ballet premiere of the 2014/15 season: a triple ballet bill entitled 1914, wich marks the centenery of the outbreak of World War I.  What conclusions did we draw from those four years of fighting and millions of casualties? New armed conflicts are breaking out all the time, in defiance of peace declarations, common sense and repeated warnings. We remember, and also encourage you to reflect on this as you watch the works of three choreographers representing different nations, times and generations. In his new ballet Nevermore…? Robert Bondara touches upon the causes, nature and effects of wars from the viewpoint of the always helpless individual. Leading Czech choreographer Jiří Kylián pays homage to the young soldiers dying on the front lines with his poignant Soldiers?Mass (1980). Kurt Jooss? legendary The Green Table (1932) is a revealing political satire referring directly to the origins and tragic consequences of the Great War and at the same time one of the greatest works of German expressionism and 20th century art.

 

The premiere: 15 November (7 pm); next performances: 16 November (6 pm), 18 November (7 pm), and (after the Days of Dance) on 30 November (6 pm).

 

During a meeting with audience Robert Bondara said that in Novermore?? ? his debut on the Teatr Wielki’s main stage ? he looks on how conflicts have changed over the last hundred years. The choreography is divided into three part: the first shows life in peace and is set to Steve Reich’s music; the second presents an armed conflict; in the third the conflict is over but still exerts influence on the people who experienced it. The ballet does not focus on a concrete biography; it is rather a collage of life stories, with characters passing by as individual, yet nameless, beings.

 

The meeting also welcomed Jeanette Vondersaar, prominent American dancer (her career spanned the USA, Switzerland, and the Netherlands ? the danced for the Dutch National Ballet) who currently works as a ballet mistress and classical dance teacher. She is the person responsible worldwide for staging of The Green Table according to the original (choreography, stage design, costumes, Friedrich Cohen’s music played live). The Green Table was created by Kurt Jooss for a 1932 choreographic competition in Paris. It won the first prize and has been shown by Jooss’s company around the world since ever since and revived by other ballet groups according to rigid specifications. As Vondersaar pointed out, the production’s extraordinary popularity lies in the universality of the problems it tackles ? ruthless, yet grotesque, negotiations by international diplomats, who do not take part in the war themselves but send new soldiers to fight it. Although the staging stays the same, and so does the antiwar message, the ballet may be seen is a wider perspective that embraces the problem of wartime refugees and immigrants, whose fate is determined today in the course of similar negotiations. What Vondersaar considers unique in Jooss’s choreography is the focus on fine, little gestures and movements that reveal a host of important ideas and emotions.

 

Yvan Dubreuil, Jiří Kylián’s assistant, was responsible for the Polish National Ballet’s staging of Soldiers’ Mass by this prominent choreographer and founder of the Nederlands Dance Theater. According to Dubreuil, the piece’s merit lies, first and foremost, in the fact that it evokes memory: of the work, its structure, the choreography, but also of wartime, which seems to him particularly important in Poland and Warsaw, so mercilessly destroyed during the war. Paweł Chynowski, who hosted the meeting, observed that Kylián’s choreography was inspired by Bohuslav Martinů’s music composition that was a warning against the second world war. Yet, the choreographer did not have any political agenda in mind while creating his work. Kylián was mainly interested in formal work with 12 male dancers. And yet the formalism gradually evolved into a lament for young men who have to die. Dubreuil noted that extraordinary tension that can be felt in this choreography results from the juxtaposition of the destruction of male bodies (brought about by the war), their exhaustion and disillusionment, on one hand, and their creative potential and powerful male energy, on the other. He revealed that this was also experienced by the Polish National Ballet dancers, who cherished the opportunity to work on the choreography.

 

1914:NEVERMORE?? /SOLDIERS’ MASS / THE GREEN TABLE
Prasqual, Reich, Szymański | Bondara, Martin?, Kylián | Cohen/Jooss

 

NEVERMORE??

World premiere

Concept and choreography: Robert Bondara

Music: Prasqual (new work), Paweł Szymański (Lux Aeterna), Steve Reich (Clapping Music)

Set designer: Boris Kudlička

Costume designer: Julia Skrzynecka

Lighting designer: Maciej Igielski

Instrumental solo (percussion): Katarzyna Bojaryn,

Jan Smoczyński

and music from recordings

World premiere: 

15 November 2014, Polish National Ballet, Teatr Wielki ? Polish National Opera, Warsaw

 

SOLDIERS?MASS

Polish premiere

Cencept and choreography: Jiří Kylián

Music: Bohuslav Martinů

Conductor: Marcin Nałęcz-Niesiołowski

Set & costume designer: Jiří Kylián

Lighting designer: Kees Tjebbes

Choreographer’s assistants: Roslyn Anderson, Yvan Dubreuil 

Text: Jiří Mucha based on liturgical texts

Vocal solo: Adam Szerszeń

Orchestra and Male Chorus of the Teatr Wielki ? Polish National Opera

World Premiere:

13 June 1980, Nederlands Dans Theater, Circustheater, Scheveningen

THE GREEN TABLE

Warsaw premiere

Choreography: Kurt Jooss

Staging: Jeanette Vondersaar

Music: Friedrich A. Cohen

Costume designer: Hein Heckroth

Lighting and masks: Hermann Markard

Lighting director: Jan Thomsa Hofstra

Rehearsal assistant: Claudio Schellino

Pianists: Anna Marchwińska, Marcin Mazurek

World Premiere:

3 July 1932, Folkwang Tanzbühne, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Paris 

Polish Premiere:

20 May 1972, Ballet of the Teatr Wielki, Łódź

 

 

Polish National Ballet

cast:

 

NEVERMORE…?

Dancers:

Joanna Drabik, Yuka Ebihara, Marta Fiedler, Aleksandra Liashenko,  Anna Lorenc,  Karolina Sapun, Margarita Simonova, Emilia Stachurska; Viktor Banka, Robin Kent, Carlos Martín Pérez, Adam Myśliński, Paweł Płoski (guest performance), Sebastian Solecki, Jacek Tyski, Kurusz Wojeński, Bartosz Zyśk

 

SOLDIERS’ MASS

Dancers:

Bartosz Anczykowski, Eduard Bablidze, Viktor Banka, Piotr Bednarczyk, Michał Chróścielewski, Kenneth Dwigans, Tomasz Fabiański, Robin Kent, Vadzim Kezik, Paweł Koncewoj, Carlos Martín Pérez, Shunsuke Mizui, Adam Myśliński, Lachlan Phillips, Remigiusz Smoliński, Sebastian Solecki, Kristóf Szabó, Łukasz Tużnik, Patryk Walczak, Takeshi Watanabe, Maksim Woitiul, Kurusz Wojeński, Vladimir Yaroshenko, Simon Yoshida, Bartosz Zyśk

 

THE GREEN TABLE

Dancers:

Death: Viktor Banka, Robin Kent, Wojciech Ślęzak

The Standard Bearer: Kristóf Szabó, Maksim Woitiul, Vladimir Yaroshenko

The Young Soldier: Lachlan Phillips, Patryk Walczak, Simon Yoshida

The Young Girl: Aleksandra Liashenko, Ewa Nowak, Emilia Stachurska

The Woman: Marta Fiedler, Palina Rusetskaya, Emilia Stachurska

The Old Soldier: Viktor Banka, Zbigniew Czapski-Kłoda, Wojciech Ślęzak

The Old Mother: Ana Kipshidze, Aneta Wira, Aneta Zbrzeźniak

The Profiteer: Paweł Koncewoj, Jacek Tyski, Bartosz Zyśk

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