a documentary film 

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StaatsBallett Berlin


Oliver Wulff, corps de ballet dancer

Birgut Brooks

Birgit Brux, character dancer and educator

Barbera Schröder

Barbara Schröder, ballet mistress

Since January 1st, 2004 Berlin has once again one big independent ballet institution: The Staatsballett Berlin. This new Ballet company emanates from the “Stiftung Oper in Berlin”, a foundation which was brought into being by the state of Berlin in order to create modern structures for the three institutionalized opera houses and to release forces that create space for artistic and creative development. The former ballet companies of the three opera houses were transferred into one single institution.

The Staatsballett Berlin turns its proud name into a programme and claims to not only make its location Berlin the capital of dance but also to radiate from there into the international world of dance. Appointed as the artistic director was Vladimir Malakhov, one of the most famous and renowned artist-personalities in the world of ballet. He is entrusted with a heritage, that roots in a diversified local ballet history: The art form of ballet has a tradition, it has survived dry spells and numerous magic moments – signs of its lively identity.

The first independent ballet company in Berlin was founded in 1794. International artists were involved, e.g. the choreographer Étienne Lauchery was engeged and appointed to create feature-lengths ballets. Besides the European capitals Berlin shortly became one of the centres of ballet in the German speaking area. Keyworks of ballet history were performed during the Biedermeier age; until the end of World War I the company counted 140 male and female dancers. An enthusiastic ballet audience experienced the Taglioni family, Fanny Elßer, Isadora Duncan or Anna Pavlova. The institutionalized ballet and dance assimilated currents of the German free dance, cultivated the classical ballet and opened up to international styles and personalities. In Berlin audience and dancers had distinctive figures of identification like Tatjana Gsovsky or Tom Schilling.

With Vladimir Malakhov as the artistic director the course for the future is set: As primo inter pares he is the front man of a classical trained company, that consists of 88 dancers and two apprentices; herewith the Stateballet Berlin is currently Germany´s biggest company. Vladimir Malakhovs goal is it, to create a distinctive company out of previously excellently educated personalities and to form and strengthen the team spirit.

The main emphasis in the composition of the repertoire of the Stateballet Berlin is first of all on the classical repertoire which will be complemented by neoclassical works. In order to evolve the individual style of the ensemble and to personally work with the company, contemporary choreographers will be invited in the near future. Company members with choreographic ambitions are given an experimental platform in the Magazingebäude of the Staatsoper. According to the tradition, there will further on be a close cooperation with the Staatliche Ballettschule Berlin.

Three new compositions created by three well-known choreographers form the summit of our repertoire 2008 | 2009 – all similar in their intensive experience of feelings, which search and find their rhythmic and dancing expression.

Like no other painter, Caravaggio was the master of light and shadows, in private he led a life of exhaustive contrasts too. We present the creation of CARAVAGGIO, a choreography, in which his fellow countryman Mauro Bigonzetti attempts to pierce precisely this world of extremes.

The Staatsballett Berlin is presenting its performances on the stages of the city that it has always been at home: The performance locations will remain the Deutsche Oper and the Staatsoper Unter den Linden, sometimes also the Komische Oper.

Vladimir Malakhov considers his first season as the artistic director of the Staatsballett Berlin as an experimental year which is necessary to accustom the audience as well as the dancers to the new circumstances. Then a new chapter in the history of ballet can be written.

Read more about the StaatsBallett Berlin.