Bookings Open for John Neumeier Works in SPRING & FALL at Cape Town City Ballet

"Le Sacre" by John Neumeier
Photo credit: Holger Badekow

SPRING & FALL, one of the most exciting dance seasons ever to grace the South African stage, will be presented by the Cape Town City Ballet in September. Three captivating works by world-renowned choreographer, John Neumeier of Hamburg Ballet, will be premiered in South Africa for the very first time.

"We are very excited about this historic collaboration with Hamburg Ballet, which has taken four years to realize", says Keith Mackintosh, Artistic Executive of the Cape Town City Ballet. "It is an event that no dance lover should miss."

Neumeier is considered as one of the greatest living choreographers of the 21st century. His astounding volume of work, consisting of some 120 ballets mostly created for the Hamburg Ballet, has been performed by the world's leading ballet companies. His style is diverse and includes full-length dramatic ballets, as well as pure dance ballets. Originally from the USA, Neumeier spent most of his professional career in Europe. He danced under the prominent South African choreographer, John Cranko, at Stuttgart Ballet, who encouraged him to start choreographing. At the age of 27, he was appointed artistic director of Frankfurt Ballet - at the time the youngest person to fulfill such an important position. In 1973, he became the Director of Hamburg Ballet and under his prolific leadership it has become one of the top ballet companies in Europe, gaining a highly respected international reputation.

SPRING & FALL will consist of three Neumeier works, "Spring and Fall", "Vaslav" and "Le Sacre". Created in 1994, "Spring and Fall" is a lyrical piece danced to Dvorák's stirring "Serenade for Strings in E major Op. 22", one of the composer's most beloved compositions. "Vaslav" is dedicated to the fascinating life and work of legendary dancer and choreographer, Vaslav Nijinsky. One of John Neumeier's first ballets, the work brought him into prominence as a choreographer. Throughout his career Neumeier has been fascinated by Nijinsky and he owns a large collection of Nijinsky memorabilia, housed at the Foundation John Neumeier. In "Vaslav", set to music by Johan Sebastian Bach, the dancers perform to the accompaniment of a live pianist on stage.

"Le Sacre" is danced to Igor Stravinski's highly dramatic and primeval composition, "The Rite of Spring (Le Sacre du printemps)", one of the most influential orchestral works of the 20th century. The original idea for the ballet came to Stravinsky in his sleep, dreaming about an ancient ritual in which a young girl is chosen as a sacrificial victim. She dances herself to death in order to bring forth the onset of spring. The original ballet, which caused riots in the streets of Paris when it premiered in 1913, was created for the famous Ballet Russes by Vaslav Nijinsky and produced by Sergei Diaghilev. Since then, many choreographers have created their own versions, set to the exquisite composition. Neumeier's version is considered one of his strongest works and hailed as one of his most fascinating choreographies.

Two star dancers from Hamburg Ballet, Silvia Azzoni and Alexander Riabko, join the Cape Town City Ballet company for the production and will appear in every performance. The entire Cape Town City Ballet company also appears at all performances. The Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra will play at all performances, with pianist Pieter Rooi accompanying Vaslav.

Bookings are now open for SPRING & FALL, presented by the Cape Town City Ballet in collaboration with Hamburg Ballet, at the Artscape Opera House from 26 to 30 September for five performances only. Tickets, ranging from R120 - R280 can be booked at Computicket (tel: 0861 915 8000) or Artscape Dial-a-Seat (tel: 021 421 7695).

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