domingo, 22 de septiembre de 2019

Carmen Mateu Young Artist European Award

The Carmen Mateu Young Artist European Award, Opera and Dance, convened by the Castell de Peralada Private Foundation, was created in memory of Carmen Mateu, and celebrates the careers of young artists in the disciplines of Opera and Dance. It also contributes to the development of their careers and promotes both disciplines in the European sphere.

The Carmen Mateu Young Artist European Award, Opera and Dance, is part of the Festival de Peralada project, the latter being set up by Carmen Mateu thirty three years ago. The Award aims to be a leading cultural reference point that supports creativity in both fields. 

A prize will be awarded in one of the two categories – opera and dance – in alternate years. 


The prize will have a total economic value of €30,000. The winner will directly receive €20,000 of this sum (subject to applicable taxation), with the remaining €10,000 going towards the expenses of the winner’s future participation in a future edition of the Castell de Peralada Festival. 


15th October 2019: End of candidacy period 

October 2019: Meeting of the Specialist Commission, who will select the strongest candidates to present to the panel (a maximum of 12 candidates will be chosen) 

November/December 2019: Convening of the Panel; Deliberation and Verdict 

First quarter of 2020: Presentation Ceremony of the First Edition of the Carmen Mateu Young Artist European Award, Opera and Dance 

As set out in the General Rules, the Castell de Peralada Private Foundation is calling the First Edition of the Carmen Mateu Young Artist European Award, Opera and Dance. 

The first edition of the award is aimed at the category of Dance, specifically at the discipline of Classical and Neo-Classical Dancer. This document sets out all the specific aspects relating to this call. 


1.1. Jury: As explained in the General Rules, the Jury is comprised of two permanent members (the President, Mrs. Isabel Suqué, who will be the spokesperson and who will not exercise her right to vote, and the Vice-President, Mr Oriol Aguilà) and by four jury members appointed specifically for this call in the discipline of Dancer, who are: 

• Julio Bocca 
• Joaquin de Luz 
• María Pagés 
• Tamara Rojo 

The Castell de Peralada Private Foundation reserves the right to amend the composition of the present jury should the circumstances so require. 

1.2. Call The call for the First Edition of the Carmen Mateu Young Artist European Award, Opera and Dance, in the category of Dance and the discipline of Dancer, will be announced on 16 May 2019 at a press conference. On May 22nd 2019, the period for receiving candidacies opens, which will end on 15 October 2019 at 23:59 hours GMT. 

The Castell de Peralada Private Foundation has the collaboration of Opera Europa and European Festivals Association in the dissemination of the Award. 


2.1. Requirements for the submission of candidacies in the category of Dance and discipline of Dancer Candidates, who will be the ones to submit their own candidacy, must meet the requirements specified in the General Rules: Carmen Mateu Young Artist European Award Opera and Dance | Tel. +34 935 038 646 | Fundació Castell de Peralada | NIF: G 17443011 Convent del Carme, s/n – 17491 Peralada 

For the call for Dance in the discipline of Dancer, candidates must have been born between 1993 and 2003, both inclusive and have been born in a European country, or be developing their career in Europe at the time of submitting their candidacy. 

Candidates submitting their candidacies must provide all of the information/documentation listed in the General Rules using the form, which can be completed on the Award web page. 

Specifically for this first edition, candidates for the Dancer Award must also submit: 

• Letter of endorsement and recommendation from a Theatre or Festival that is part of Opera Europa, or from a festival that is part of the EFA (European Festivals Association) or from any of the dance companies associated with a theatre or festival that is part of Opera Europa and/or the EFA. 

Likewise, the endorsement may be written by any other dance company of proven international recognition. 

• Audiovisual Material 
- A video that shows a classical variation 
- A video that shows an improvisation 
The videos should be sent using the registration form, with a link to an audiovisual play platform (Youtube, Vimeo, etc.). 

The duration of each of the pieces may not exceed 3 minutes and must have a minimum quality of HD. The organisers may contact the candidate to request additional information or material. 

The rest of the information relating to the Carmen Mateu Young Artist European Award, Opera and Dance, can be consulted in the General Rules.

miércoles, 19 de junio de 2019

The Ballet de Barcelona is born

Ballet de Barcelona in Together.
Photo: Aleix Alexandre @aleix_a_m

Barcelona, one of the most vibrant cities in the world, has since the month of May a new cultural attraction, the «Ballet de Barcelona». If the dance in the Catalan capital has a good representation in contemporary, in classic, after the dissolution of the companies of David Campos and Ángel Corella, there was a void that is now remedied. 

Carolina Masjuan

The Ballet de Barcelona is born thanks to the union of a group of eleven dancers, their passion for dance and their courage to undertake something new. Among them we find dancers of many nationalities: Spain, Japan, Belgium, Slovakia, Albania, Italy or USA who together bring decades of experience in companies such as the English National Ballet, the National Ballet of Perú, the National Ballet Company in Portugal, Les Ballets Trockadero of Monte Carlo, Tokyo City Ballet, or Ángel Corella's Barcelona Ballet

Anna Ishii & Carraig New in Le Corsaire.
Photo: Aleix Alexandre @aleix_a_m
The first eleven components were joined, after auditions, by three more dancers, who have formed the cast for the presentation program at the Teatre Condal in the Catalan capital on June 14, 15 and 16. 

The artistic direction is assumed by the company dancer, Chase Johnsey. Chase with a long career in Les Ballets de Trockadero of Monte Carlo, First Artist during 2018 in the English National Ballet, has been recognized with the distinctions to "Best Male Dancer" in the National Dance Awards of the United Kingdom and the "Best Male Performance" for his role in Paquita

Installed in the bright and spacious facilities of L'Espona dance center, in Rubí, near Barcelona, they define themselves as an artistic organization committed to equality, diversity and individuality. There, they have created an artistic environment in which the perseverance, hard work and discipline, always essential, go hand in hand with respect, companionship, tolerance and transparency. Watching a class or rehearsal is a very enriching and inspiring experience for any dance lover. Thank you for always having the doors open for us to enjoy! 

Reo Morikawa and Clara del Cerro.
Photo: Aleix Alexandre @aleix_a_m
It is the ambition of the company to cover a wide variety of choreographic styles, from classic and neoclassical ballet, to the modern and contemporary repertoire, including new collaborations and avant-garde choreographies. This premiere, which has been possible thanks to the trust and support of Daniel Anglés, Artistic Director of Onyric Teatre Condal, highlights the absolute premiere of Together the choreography by Antonio Carmena (ex-soloist of the New York City Ballet) with Marcus Salazar as co-choreographer. 

The program of the Condal, opens with some emotional words by the Artistic Director: Few will ever be as fortunate as myself to be able to experience what happens within the dance studio. An empty room with a linoleum floor, a mirror, windows, and a few ballet barres, where everyday we start with nothing; we create something; and then we leave it empty again. But, an empty studio isn’t empty to me. We walk in everyday to endless possibilities. Everyday, I am gifted with the results of these possibilities. I get to experience the break throughs, the frustrations, the pain, the freedom, and most importantly, through the dancing, I get to know these individual dancers better everyday. 

The curious thing about the life of a dancer is there is rarely any proof of it. No tangible product that can accurately portray the amount of work that goes into it. Even a video can never encompass the electric energy that the body is able to convey in live performance. As professionals, we need to learn to love the risk, to trust our work, and ultimately become friends with my favorite word, perseverance. 

Chase Johnsey, Dying Swan. Photo: Aleix Alexandre @aleix_a_m

The career of a dancer is a constant struggle with time. A race to be physically better, emotionally free, and more daring. Always striving for an idea of perfection within human limitations. My mission is to teach these dancers that the true art of dance isn’t about the reflection in the mirror. Creating art is about being in the moment, and generously giving your talent away. As artists, we are always at the mercy of the spectators. 

On May 6th, 2019, we began. We began like all dancers, with the simplest exercises that anyone could do. “We had nothing to lose, nothing to gain, nothing we desired anymore, except to make our lives into a work of art” - Lana del Rey. 

With 39 days, 30 rehearsals, 114 hours, 14 dancers, 7 nationalities, and 2 acts, we have created Ballet de Barcelona. 

Chase Johnsey 
Artistic Director, Ballet de Barcelona 

Lisa-Marie Veervort, Jewels.
Photo: Aleix Alexandre @aleix_a_m
A video summary of these 39 days, made by Albert Renedo, opens the show for attendants to watch the dancers working at l'Espona. 

The first act has been designed with fragments of Repertory Ballets. Two from Sleeping Beauty with a beautiful Princess Florine, Clara del Cerro, and a spectacular Blue Bird, Reo Morikawa, and Jewels, Júlia Roca and Lise-Marie Veervort or Stanislava Pinčeková and Giuliana Restivo, exquisite, with an elegant Anxhelo Baqiqi. Outstanding part that of the Pdd of Le Corsaire by Anna Ishii and Carraig New and final colophon the Dying Swan, that the own Chase interpreted in two of the shows, assuming Stanislava Pincekova the difficult challenge to dance it on Saturday afternoon and in which she got to succeed. 

All the dancers shine in their variations, this is not a company of ranks, it is a company of individualities, where all the artists find a space for their creativity and brilliance while always looking for the quality of the whole show. In this way, talent is discovered that, in another way and in another type of organization, would inevitably be hidden. 

Chase Johnsey, Dying Swan.
Photo: Aleix Alexandre @aleix_a_m
Particularly emotional and worthy to be highlighted is Chase solo. Unknown in our country but much admired and loved in his, the United States -a film crew follows him as they are making a documentary about his career- Chase dances a Dying Swan of enormous sensitivity and emotion that leaves everyone breathless and with more than one furtive tear in one's eyes. 

In the way Chase enters the dying swan, something that goes beyond the role is percieved. The dancer dedicates his solo to his beloved "grandfather boss", the grandfather of Carlos Renedo, his husband and Executive Director of the Ballet de Barcelona. The grandfather, recently deceased in the presence of Chase -something that marked him deeply and that relives every time he comes on stage- is his inspiration for this role that he dances with white tights and on pointe. 

This closes the first act, with the audience already surrendered to the evidence that these guys have made history and that they have a management able to take them far, if enough support is achieved. 

The second part is a completely new ballet created by the dancer, teacher, choreographer and friend of Chase, Antonio Carmena, in collaboration with Marcus Salazar. Antonio Carmena, former soloist at the New York City Ballet, explained to Abi Stafford for Pointe Magazine (you can read the full article here how he embarked on this adventure, after he stopped dancing in 2017 and re-directed his career). 

Júlia Roca, Jewels. Photo:  Aleix Alexandre @aleix_a_m
« …..He then stuck his toe in choreographic waters, creating a 10-minute piece with a Spanish flamenco flair for CBC

On a whim, he sent a video of his ballet to a friend, Chase Johnsey, who was working on the artistic staff of a small dance company in Spain. The two discussed the possibility of Carmena choreographing a ballet for the company, but the collaboration needed to occur at a future date, so he went back to his job search. 

Then Johnsey, a former dancer with Les Ballets de Trockadero, called with some news a few weeks later. He was in the midst of starting his own company, Ballet de Barcelona. He had scheduled performances for June 14-16, and he needed a choreographer now. Before he knew it, Carmena had been commissioned to create a 26-minute ballet. 

While his 10-minute piece for the CBC dancers served as a starting point for his choreographic skills, Carmena had been given three whole months to create it. This time, he only had three weeks to choreograph a ballet over twice as long. What's more, he knew nothing about the Ballet de Barcelona dancers' styles or capabilities. 

Ballet de Barcelona in Together.
Photo: Aleix Alexandre @aleix_a_m
Carmena enlisted the aid of his partner and fellow dancer, Marcus Salazar, and the two rented studios to create a bit of the ballet prior to leaving for Spain. After selecting the music—Carmena landed on Symphony in G by the French composer Étienne Méhul—the pair created about three minutes of choreography. But Carmena stopped there. 

He knew that he didn't want to create a work without its most important component: the actual dancers. Regardless of the stressful time constraints, he wanted a collaborative process, with input from the dancers about how his steps feel on their bodies, particularly the women. (He and Salazar found that choreographing for women in pointe shoes presented a steep challenge. "We can't even try the steps," Carmena says.) 

Before leaving for Barcelona, Carmena admitted that he was nervous about leaping so far outside his comfort zone. But he is not putting too much pressure on himself. As he puts it, "I am not trying to be the next Balanchine here!" He is simply on a new journey and is excited for this next stop on the path. Although his transition from NYCB dancer to "something else" has been a process, Carmena feels grateful for it all. » 

Anna Ishii, Le Corsair. Photo: Aleix Alexandre @aleix_a_m
We were able to attend some of the rehearsals and we perceived the passion and enthusiasm with which everyone addressed this challenge and, once we saw the result on stage, we can say that it was really brilliant! 

The choreography evidently draws from the sources of the NYCB, above all from Balanchine, with those quick steps and that vibrant musicality, but Antonio has managed to give it his stamp, creating for this young cast, a choral piece for almost all of them, with some alternation in the three performances, including a beautiful Pdd for the main couple, Carraig New and Victoria Aletta on Friday and Sunday and Elizabeth Cohen on Saturday evening. Both Victoria and Elizabeth possess a very good technique, Victoria has an impressive physique and a great stage presence, while Elizabeth gives that typical American style quickness, which is so good with the piece. Carraig is really outstanding, we already saw his amazing Ali and here he again conqueers us completely. Amazing all three! 

Carraig New and Elizabeth Cohen.
Photo: Aleix Alexandre @aleix_a_m
As they all are really amazing in the choral parts, in which some brief solos allow even the apprentices to shine - Paula Losada, fresh out of the Corella Dance Academy school, takes advantage of her moment-. We also find comic fragments in the choreography, that the dancers, in their youth, make their own, interpreting them with great sparkle to audiences's delight. 

Audience that has been growing as the news have spread and word of mouth has been working among the ones thirsty for ballet in Barcelona, who have celebrated this premiere with great applause and cheers. Many theater programmers among the attendees that we trust they'll give this company the opportunity it deserves, for its dancers to show off to as much audience as possible everywere. 

Thank you all for taking this challenge and offering us this gift. 

The Barcelona Ballet launched a campaign to raise funds for the premiere at the Teatre Condal that is still active, since there are many expenses involved and the dancers have been working generously as volunteers. Help them with your generous contribution no matter how small! 

Victoria Aletta and Carraig New in Together.
Photo: Aleix Alexandre @aleix_a_m

Ballet de Barcelona 

Artistic Director: Chase Johnsey 

Dancers : 

Anxhelo Baqiqi - Durrës, Albania 
Clara del Cerro San Ildefonso - Molina de Segura, Murcia, Spain 
Elizabeth Anne Calder Cohen - Chicago, Illinois, USA 
Anna Ishii - Kanagawa, Japan 
Chase Johnsey - Winter Haven, Florida, USA 
Reo Morikawa - Nagoya, Japan 
Carraig New - Juneau, Alaska, USA 
Stanislava Pinčeková - Pezinok, Slovakia 
Clara Plà Ferrer - Barcelona, Spain 
Giuliana Restivo - Palermo, Italy 
Julia Roca Muxinach- Barcelona, Spain 
Lisa-Marie Vervoort - Anvers, Belgium 
Victoria Aletta - Florence, Italy 
Paula Losada Alié - Barcelona, Spain

domingo, 31 de marzo de 2019

«Picasso's Ballerina» in the making

Lorenzo Misuri (Picasso) and Rebecca Storani (Olga)
in La Ballarina de Picasso by Remi Wortmeyer for Ballet de Catalunya.
Photo: Josep Guindo

The pace is hectic these days at the Cultural Center of Terrassa, home of the « Ballet de Catalunya » (BNC). Remi Wortmeyer, Australian choreographer and dancer, currently Principal at the HET National Ballet, has been living in Barcelona for over two months working with this young cast in what will be his first long length ballet, "La Bailarina de Picasso". 

Carolina Masjuan 

«La Ballarina de Picasso» bases her story on Olga, a ballerina of the Ballets Russes and who was Pablo Ruiz-Picasso's first wife, and unique, since she never divorced him. Olga Kokhlova meant a before and after in the life of Picasso, both on a personal and artistic level, she captivated him, inspired him, motivated him, overwhelmed him, despaired him.... Also this new creation, we will not doubt, will be a milestone and a turning point for the Ballet de Catalunya, a company that is consolidating, is becoming known and already has a large audience that continues to be enthusiastic. 

Lorenzo Misuri and Rebecca Storani.
Photo: Josep Guindo
We had a chat with the main authors of this exciting adventure, who told us in first person about their personal experiences, giving their point of view about this production. 

Elías García, Artistic Director of the « Ballet de Catalunya », explains how the idea of ​​a new creation and complete ballet to be part of the 36th Dance Season of the Cultural Center of Terrassa, was born : «As it is well known, Ballet de Catalunya, started a year and five months ago. Starting a company from scratch is a difficult task, (finding dancers, venues, theater, etc). Despite this short journey, we are focusing our work to produce to the maximum in order to offer a product and above all to find the identity that the Company needs. So far, in these months, the Ballet de Catalunya has produced five programs, two of them complete ballets (Don Quixote and The Nutcracker). With Leo Sorribes, General Director, we decided to raise the bar and bet on a new production of full Ballet, but this time something that was created and designed for the Ballet de Catalunya and from here the idea arose. 

Regarding why Remi Wortmeyer, Elías continues: «Remi Wortmeyer is a young choreographer and a dancer with a very great career, currently a Principal Dancer at the Het National. In the second program presented by Ballet de Catalunya, Tripple Bill, one of the choreographies was signed by Remi, Concierto Mondrian, a choreography who has been a great success. Remi uses a very Nordic-European vocabulary, which attracts me a lot. As an artistic director, I seek in all productions to approach, even with small brush strokes, what is the territory, because I believe that our culture can give the identity that the Company needs, in order to differentiate itself from others. Remi proposed this wonderful story, Olga, Picasso's first wife and mother of his first child. The story intrigued me a lot and when we discovered it, we decided to bet on it and I was convinced by the fact that the protagonist was a genius who comes from our territory». 

Lise-Marie Vervoort and Remi Wortmeyer.
Photo: Josep Guindo
And he continues "Like all the choreographers who until now have worked for Ballet de Catalunya, Remi has had complete freedom in regards to the choice of dancers. There is an internal audition and during the creation, Remi has the full freedom to change, if necessary, the cast. In case of doubt of Remi I can intervene, but as artistic director, I try to do the minimum possible, the creator has to feel free to be able to give the maximum. The level of the company is extraordinary, and the alchemy that the choreographer has to achieve with the dancers, arises thanks to the feeling that he finds in his interpreters. Remi has done a great job, not only in conceiving and choreographically capturing a story like Olga's, he has been in charge of designing both costumes and set designs. I have only participated as an assistant» 

As for when the company is now at an artistic level, Elías explains to us "The company is growing exponentially and I am beginning to see a cohesion between the dancers. Do not forget the young age of the cast. At a technical level, the dancers, thanks to the teachers who assiduously work in the Ballet de Catalunya, Angeles Lacalle and Vincent Gros and when time permits, mine, is reaching a high level and thanks to the productions made so far, at the artistic aspect the company is positioning itself at a good point, without losing sight of all the work that we still have to develop. With the Nutcracker and thanks to the Cultural Center of Terrassa where the company has its headquarters, we made a work of awareness to the younger public and I hope that with the new program, La Ballarina de Picasso, we can continue with this important work, reaching the maximum of public of all ages. Hoping that this program will help the Ballet de Catalunya to move forward. 

Rebecca Storani and Lorenzo Misuri. Photo: Jposep Guindo
We also had the opportunity to share a very nice evening with Remi Wortmeyer who gave us his vision. Installed for a long time in Barcelona, ​​a city that he confesses to adore, he must absent himself from time to time to attend some premieres of his ballets. He has a lot of work, right now he has six commissions for new ballets, one of them for the next season of the HET National Ballet, with whom he continues to dance as principal in Amsterdam, but now he is completely immersed in this new adventure, with which he is delighted. 

"It was immediately after the premiere of Mondrian Concerto which I created for the Ballet de Catalunya last season that I was asked to create a complete ballet to premiere next year. They asked me to make the argument fit the culture of the country, something that I totally agreed with. So I undertook a search process and found the perfect story in Olga's life».

"The story is based on the Russian dancer who conquered Picasso. Once the character was found, everything flowed naturally, the dancer, Olga, the Ballets Russes, the Spanish painter, Picasso, all confirmed to be the perfect script for a ballet, for a company from the country of the genius and for this young company.

Stanislava Pincekova (Coco Chanel) and
Reo Morikawa (Jean Cocteau). Photo: Josep Guindo
My ballet is not 100% true to reality, I have allowed myself some licenses, just as Picasso interpreted reality in his works, I also wanted to give my vision to the story. I used flash-back to situate the mental moments that Olga goes through, the subject of her medication because of the infidelities of Picasso. But its environment and its circumstances are the real ones and the characters are also those who frequented the couple, Jean Cocteau, Diaghilev, Coco Chanel,... as well as the development of the plot is placed chronologically » 

"Once the plot is found, we move on to the selection of music. Stravinsky, a contemporary of Picasso and related to him thanks to Sergei Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes, for whom he composed while Picasso participated in the sets, was the perfect composer for this ballet » 

About sets and the costumes, Remi told us : «Yes, I made the designs of everything, I like to control all the production, and I always had a clear idea of ​​what I wanted. The budget is tight and we have had to move to get the necessary elements in the desired quality, or as close as possible to it for fabrics, reproductions, etc ... I must thank the enormous help that Marina Quera (Executive Director of Ballet de Catalunya) has given me in this sense.

Artists of Ballet de Catalunya rehearsing
La Ballarina de Picasso. Photo: Josep Guindo
Absolutely everything is inspired by the time, but evidently the costumes have been adapted to facilitate the movement of the dancers. The sets are inspired by paintings of the genius and pretend that the viewer feels like inside the painting. I have not seen the final result yet, but I am confident that everything will be fine!» 

Regarding the cast, Remi explains «I found the company with some changes, which is normal, but in general they form a very powerful cast and it has progressed a lot since I was last with them. I am very happy to see these young artists grow in the way they do. Obviously for them to participate in the creation of a ballet -in this case with me, but it could have been with any other creator- it is very rewarding and they live it with great enthusiasm and intensity. I came with a clear idea of ​​everything, steps, style and interpretation of each character, etc ... Although something has changed in the meantime, basically I continue with my initial scheme. I teach the dancers exactly what I want and I try to stimulate them to give the maximum of themselves, but if at some point you have to make some small concession so that they feel more comfortable or to improve the fuidity of the dance, I am willing to consider it. But I must say that they have done a great job and I am very satisfied with all of them!" 

Rebecca Storani and Lorenzo Storani. Photo: Josep Guindo
We also wanted to know about the experience of the main dancers, the very young but highly talented, Rebecca Storanni (Olga) and Lorenzo Misuri (Picasso): 

Rebecca Storani (Olga): «Remi, besides being a choreographer, is a very complete artist and this shows a lot in his work with us. His care in the details and the way to express an emotion with his body, is incredible. I think this is what I will more keep on me of him and of these creations that we are doing. His way of working is also ideal for me, you have to always be very attentive to every little movement he makes, but at the same time make it yours, personal. He, as I said before, takes great care of the details and the little things, but at the same time leaves you room to see how you can make yours a movement without changing the story. 

Surely I have an opportunity that not everyone can have in life, that a choreographer so important and with so much experience is making a creation on you. It is a luxury and an honor for me, especially because I have such a beautiful role, but at the same time very difficult. I am very happy to have been chosen by him for this wonderful creation that is Olga, the wife of Picasso. 

Anna Ishii and Ryo Sasaki. Photo: Josep Guindo
I must admit that it has been a very difficult process, but at the same time a great one. To internalize the character, I started watching documentaries of Picasso's life, to know his whole life well and to know to what extent he abandoned himself to the love of his inspirational muse and future woman, Olga. After, I read some books, I have even seen one in Russian, that although I have not understood anything, but it has helped me a lot because of its photographs of Olga, of them two together or even designs that he made, to see her poses, her movements, trying to look as much as possible like her, and trying to make her own movements but a little more stylized than in that era she lived. 

Olga is a difficult role, with personality changes throughout the ballet. It begins as a happy woman doing what she likes (dancing) and a pure woman, who knows Picasso and falls in love with him. Little by little, during the show we will see Picasso flirting with other women and it is here that Olga will start to faint in her strong and pure character at the same time. When you realize that the person you love most is not the same he was at the beginning, that he will not always be by your side to help you, this hurts... and this goes through until he meets Marie-Thérèse, his future lover and from there it begins for Olga an internal struggle with herself, not to believe that it is true, until her total abandonment to madness for love. 

Rebecca Storani and Lorenzo Misuri. Photo: Josep Guindo
There is still a lot of work to be done, but I am already very happy for the comments that I have been told: "you have found Olga". When I dance, I already feel everything as if it was real, I try to imagine the whole story of truth and I feel the pain in my chest, as if this really hurt me ». 

About costumes « I will have enough changes of costumes, more or less four or five and very fast! Some I will have to change in one minute! But it will be very beautiful because in each part of the ballet it will be a dress adapted to the situation. » 

Rebecca Storani and Carlos Aquino. Photo: Josep Guindo
And regarding the company « It's been a year and a half since the Ballet de Catalunya started and many things have changed. I feel totally another person. I have been lucky enough to always dance the main roles and that helped me a lot to develop the whole story behind each character. Thanks to the management and the choreographers who have always trusted me and given me these opportunities. » 

«I have also always worked a lot, without resting days and I have always given my best and this has clearly helped me too. I think the growth of the company also has to do with the number of shows we do and this year has already been much better than last year, but it's a pity that you can not make entire productions of ten or fourteen shows like all the companies do. Because with the shows people gain more experience in front of the public, it is customary to control nerves, fatigue, breathing and energy and thus helps one to give a little more in each performance. I really hope that this company grows more and more and that they give us support and help to improve the conditions and maybe one day be the National Ballet Company of Catalonia. » 

Remi Wortmeyer and Rebecca Storani. Phoo: Josep Guindo
Lorenzo Misuri (Picasso): «Every time I am struck by Remi's work, his quality of movement is fluid but at the same time dynamic and precise, for me this is the "style of Remi" and it is an element that I have also found in his choreography created last year for the Ballet de Catalunya (Concerto Mondrian) and in Picasso's Ballerina this year. Moreover, another important aspect that I want to highlight is the great talent that Remi has in explaining and transmitting to us dancers in a clean, precise and clear way, the idea that he has of his choreography in all aspects. 

Remi is a Principal dancer with excellent musicality and a beautiful movement, and succeeds in bringing these two important qualities also in his choreographic works ». 

«When such an important choreographer creates a choreography on you it's already something special. In Picasso's Ballerina the emotion is even stronger because Remi has not created a simple choreography but a whole ballet with a very complex and intense story behind it. Every day being present for this important creation has greatly enriched me as a dancer. Thanks to Remi and his choreography the truest part of myself came out and I was able to rediscover that pleasure of dancing one felt when being a child. Despite the technical difficulties of ballet I feel free when I dance and this is very much thanks to the teachings of Remi. » 

Rebecca Storani and Lorenzo Misuri. Photo: Josep Guindo
«The role of Picasso is certainly not simple and being young and not very experienced, at first I admit that I was afraid of not being able to play this character at best. But Remi immediately believed in me and this was very important for the performance of this character. In addition to Remi, I thank Elias Garcia Herrera (artistic director of the ballet de Catalunya) very much, he has also helped me to dig and better understand Picasso and his story, which is fundamental for me. I hope that the audience will be able to see on stage not Picasso but Lorenzo and his soul as Picasso.» 

About the company, Lorenzo told us : «It's only a year and a half that I'm at the ballet de Catalunya, and that the company was born, but for me it seems that much more time has passed. That's certainly because this experience has helped me mature as a person and dancer. The people who work on this project put a lot of passion into it. We are lucky to have excellent teachers and maître de ballet that from the morning lesson spur us on and help us to give the best of ourselves, we have an artistic director who goes beyond the functions of director, he is always present from the first to the last rehearsal, to get the most out of every dancer. In less than 2 years we will be staging a very important production such as "Picasso’s Ballerina". This is the "Ballet de Catalunya" and it taught me that when we put passion, love and believe in a dream or a project, despite problems or difficulties from starting from zero, something as incredible and special as this company is, can arise. » 

Thank you very much everyone for your collaboration and for allowing us to get closer and also live a little bit this creative process whose end will be this beautiful ballet. We are certain that at Ballet de Catalunya, everyone involved, but mainly these great artists, will make us dream and will deeply move us with this amazing history of Olga and Picasso. There are very few tickets left, hurry up to get yours !! 


Olga Khokhlova: Rebecca Storani
Picasso: Lorenzo Misuri
Marie-Therese: Sofia Pagani

Jean Cocteau: Reo Morikawa
Sergei Diaghilev: Lucien Vecchierelli
Coco Chanel: Stanislava Pincekova

Colombine: Yuzu Hikosaka
Arlequí: Ryo Sasaki
Pierrot: Clara del Cerro
Acròbata: Yukari Mizu
“Strong man”: Carlos Aquino
Director de la Galeria: Ryo Sasaki
Doctor: Carlos Aquino

Julia Roca,
Alexandra Urcia
Miho Okamura
Yuzu Hikosaka
Mizuki Tanoue
Anna Ishii
Clara del Cerro
Yukari Mizu
Monica Gomez
Ryo Sasaki
Andrea Marselletti
Lisa-Marie Vervoort
Victoria Aletta
Matilde Ferrari
Elizabeth Cohen
Myrsini Petroutsou
Olivia Sparling
Giuliana Restivo
Flavia Carsillo
Lorenzo Di Stasio

Direcció Artística: Elias Garcia
Autoria i coreografia: Remi Wörtmeyer
Música: Igor Stravinsky
Assistents artístics: Elias Garcia, Chase Johnsey, Vincent Gros, Maria Fernanda Urcia
Producció: Marina Quera
Direcció tècnica i il·luminació: Ricardo Alegria
Disseny d’escenografia i vestuari: Remi Wörtmeyer
Confecció de vestuari: Paula Fecker, Marta Muiños, Gina Nunura, Martina Montorfani
Escenografia: Albert Torres, Andrés Gavilano, Pepe Urcia
Fotografia: Josep Guindo

lunes, 22 de octubre de 2018

Interview to Dmitry Zagrebin

Dmitry Zagrebin as Basilio in D.Q. Pas de Deux for Ibstage
Photo: Josep Guindo

During our last trip to Sweden, we had the chance to meet Dmitry Zagrebin, principal dancer of the Royal Swedish Ballet. It was a sunny Sunday in Stockholm when reaching the end of the Summer. It was Dmitry day off so we decided to meet in one of these nice coffees in Sodermalm, not far from the SoFo where he lives. 

Dmitry was born in Moscow and has been involved in the dance world since he was a child. An important reason for that is the fact that his parents and grandparents were professional dancers at Bolshoi Ballet, he studied at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy, where he combined his dance studies with teacher studies of Master of ballet. 

Dmitry with Rebecca Storani in D.Q.
Ibstage. Photo: Sila Avvakum
After he graduated, he joined the Bolshoi Ballet at the age of 18 and he had the change to work with Alexei Ratmansky, who was leading the company at that time. In 2015 he moved to Sweden to join the Royal Swedish Ballet, where he is currently principal dancer. When we met he was performing Marcia Haydee’s Sleeping Beauty in the Kungliga Operan, in the role of Prince Desiree.

Sylvia Julià: After your experience in Russia and Sweden, which differences de you see between the two countries regarding how they live the Ballet?

Dmitry Zagrevin: Booth theaters are very old so when you get to dance on stage you feel similar atmosphere, that kind of amazing spirit you never get in concert halls. 

S.J.: Which is your routine as a dancer in Stockholm with the Swedish Ballet?

D.Z.: Starting from mid August, the schedule is quite tight, specially this season. From next week we will already start rehearsing a Triple Bill with works from Jiří Kylián, Angelin Preljocaj and Lukáš Timulak, while we are performing Sleeping Beauty, and in few weeks we will start rehearsing the Nutcracker

Two years ago the company used to tour, but not any more, currently all performances take place in Stockholm Opera house, but when I have free time and permission from work I’m always open to go somewhere else to join interesting projects, on my own.

Dmitry in Ibstage with D.Q.
Photo: Sila Avvakum
S.J.: During your life you have won several awards, the last one in 2014 and it was the Gold Medal at International Baltic Ballet Competition in Riga. What these achievements have represented in your professional career? 

D.Z.: It’s always an opportunity to challenge yourself technically, physically and artistically, but it’s also very good to meet other colleagues from other territories and see how they dance and how they move, to make connections and meet friends. Even if it’s a competitive environment it is in a good way and I mainly do it for fun.

S.J.: In your repertory we can find leading roles in very important classical productions but you have also performed Jiri Kylian, Ratmansky and also Bournonville repertory. Which would be your favorite one or the most special one for you?

D.Z.: With Bolshoi Ballet I had the chance to dance Mercutio in Yuri Grigorovich version of Romeo & Juliet and it was an amazing experience to participate in this production and to share studio with Yuri Grigorovich. In Moscow I also danced Jiri Kylian’s Symphony of Psalms and Ratmansky’s Russian Season, this last one in my second season with Bolshoi. Most leading roles I performed when I arrived to Sweden : Swan Lake, Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Alice in Wonderland, and I will perform Jiri Kylian Wings of wax in November.

Here in Sweden, about a year ago, I also performed one of the leading roles in Bournonville’s Ponte Molle, renovated by Dinna Bjørn and Frank Andersen. That was an amazing experience but also quite challenging because I had to add some steps to the Bournonville’s piece, just because there were no steps in the original scrip. Frank and Dinna gave me instructions about how it should look like, how it should start and where were the important places of the choreography, for example, they told me this movement has to end up in a knee and I had two eights in the middle to fill with my own steps. This was a responsibility and a personal contribution to the Bournonville piece.

Dmitry and Rebecca in D.Q, for Ibstage
Photo: Josep Guindo
A very special and super different role I remember it was a small role in Mats Ek’s Juliet and Romeo where I had the chance to dance with Ana Laguna on stage. It was ... I don’t know how to explain it... how honored and how gifted I felt when I’d got to dance on stage with Ana Laguna in this master piece of Mats Ek, it really has a special place in my memory. I’m happy I embraced the opportunity to be involved in Mats Ek production and I would like to work with him again in the future.

S.J.: How do you prepare a role? Especially those that have quite a lot of acting.

D.Z.: It really depends which role it is, in my opinion quite often acting roles in the classical ballet are over-rated, because you have a limited amount of music and you have a choreography steps that has to be precisely danced, let's say you have two eights in the music to show that "I will go there" or "I love you" or "I'm leaving" and it has to be exactly in the music, every single gesture, and it will be enough, all the audience will recognize it, they will understand the movements. Of course you need to know choreography, to be physically well prepared and you need to know the ballet you are doing, but sometimes when you think too much, when you over-rate your acting, you can lose the focus on the precision of the movements and music. 

You can take inspiration from other dancers but never copy. In my experience, it won't come up from the first performance, from your premier. I did Sleeping Beauty premier last season and I repeat it now and in main scenes and in certain movements I feel much calmer, I feel that it's much easier for me to do it, it all calm down.

Dmitry Zagrebin in D,Q. for Ibstage
Photo: Sila Avvakum
S.J.: You are performing Prince Desirée in Marcia Haydee’s version of Sleeping Beauty with the Swedish Ballet, how was your experience working with her? Marcia is very interested in the acting side of the ballet dancers, what do you think? 

D.Z.: It was an amazing experience to dance with Marcia, I adore her, she is gorgeous. When I was rehearsing Price Desirée she told me "you don't need to do this particular step, you can change it and do it how you feel it, but you have to look beautiful". Regarding the acting part in this ballet, of course in any company many dancers can step in and do 32 fouettés, but to be a true principal dancer it's more than that, so I totally agree with Marcia, but all this technical staff has to be there as well.

S.J.: As a dancer, you dedicate most of your time to dancing, training, rehearsing, travelling, ... but what other things you like to do when you have some free time?

D.Z.: Movies, reading,... but no physical exercise. You need to be smart to not to hurt yourself and be in shape. You need to work with your brain all the time and learn from experience, and sometimes don't go for everything and maybe don't over-rate your acting on stage (he smiles). 

S.J.: Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Do you see yourself linked to dance all your life?

D.Z.: I have a diploma as a Ballet Master, so I could teach in a company. Taking my mother advice, I divided my time between the work at Bolshoi Theater and my graduation as a teacher at Bolshoi Academy. But now I can't say what I will do in the future, only that I will share my dance as long as I can. When I was 12 I played the role of little Mozart , a leading role in the opera production Bastien und Bastienne from Mozart, where I had to dance and I had to talk. I enjoyed a lot and felt very comfortable, so if I have any kind of opportunity related with acting I will definitely go for it, even movies, no idea, but I could do it. 

Dmitry and Rebecca in D.Q. for Ibstage Gala at Gran Teatre del Liceu.
Photo: Josep Guindo
S.J.: We had the chance to see you dancing with Rebecca Storani in the IBStage Gala in Barcelona some weeks ago and I have to say that it was amazing. How was your experience of dancing with her?

D.Z.: It was one of the best partnership experiences in my life, she is a extremely professional ballerina, very good on eye-contact on stage, when you just trust each other, you know. I have danced Don Q. many times in my life and I felt very comfortable dancing with Rebecca, she was very focused and everything went just amazing. I have to say I was shocked in a very good way. We met the same day in the morning and we went on stage after 10 minutes of checking out. She is amazing and I would love to dance with her again. 

S.J.: We are working to promote ballet in Catalonia and to have artists like you performing there it will help to achieve our goals for sure, so we hope we can see you dancing again in Barcelona or maybe performing with Ballet de Catalunya in Terrassa.

D.Z.: You have such a beautiful theater in Barcelona and it would be great to see more ballet performances there. Theater is huge and the atmosphere on stage was amazing. I really wish that ballet art can grow in Barcelona, so if I can give any help I would like to do it.

lunes, 3 de septiembre de 2018

Anastasia Limenko: We try the world to be better by bringing beauty on stage

Anastasia Limenko at the Institut del Teatre in Barcelona
Photo: Sila Avvakum

This is the third time that we have Anastasia Limenko at the Ibstage Galas. She tells us that she is delighted to accept their invitations, she loves Barcelona and the atmosphere that is breathed in this course of the highest level that she defines as unique worldwide and a model to follow. 

Anastasia Limenko in Black Swan. Ibstage Galas.
Photo: Josep Guindo
We cross her in the hall of the Institut del Teatre, she is the first of the great stars invited that has arrived to Barcelona and after doing a class and taking a small snack, she tells us that this may be a good time for the interview that we are suggesting. We do not miss the opportunity and chat with the very young Principal Dancer of the Stanivlasky Theater in Moscow. 

Carolina Masjuan: Anastasia, I think it is the second time you are dancing here? 

Anastasia Limenko: No, in fact it is my third time! I came twice last year because I came in July when I performed Don Quixote for the Galas at El Liceu and then I came back in September for the Galas at Theatre Grec where I danced with Kimin Kim. So now it is the third time I'm here for Ibstage. 

C.M. : Oh yes, you are right! and how it happened that we are so lucky to have you here? 

A.L. : Well in fact it was through Instagram -Anastasia is very active in this social media- that I received an invitation form Leo Sorribes. He told me that he had seen my video from Don Quixote and that he would be happy if I can join. I was very surprised as I thought that Instagram was to have fun and I was very surprised too because I was so young, only 22 years old, and this was the first invitation for such an important Gala and then when I knew I was going to share the stage with such amazing dancers as Lauren Curtbertson, Kimin Kim and so many famous and talented people I couldn't believe!! For my second time it was my premiere performing Diana and Acteon and it was a special moment for me. I have to thank vey much Xiomara Reyes and Larissa Lezhnina for their help and amazing coach. I was so lucky!! because I also had such an amazing coaches and a partner as Kimin Kim. 

Anastasia Limenko, Black Swan. Ibstage Galas.
Photo: Josep Guindo

C.M. : Incredible it was your first time on it!! you both were amazing! And now I think that you are coming from Mexico because you have participated in a Gala there as well, isn't it ? 

A.L. : Yes! I was invited by Isaac Hernández. He is an amazing dancer and it was incredible because he gives something so special not only for audience but also for us the dancers. All the crew felt so happy and this was noticed on stage because everybody gave their best and one has to note that this was for a huge audience, 20.000 people, 10.000 each of the two performances and it has been really wonderful! I got to see also a work of a wonderful choreographer, Sebastian Kloborg, whose works I really like! 

Anastasia Limenko, Black Swan. Ibstage Galas.
Photo: Josep Guindo
C.M. : We noticed this amazing ambience between all of you on Instagram!! 

A.L. : Yeahhhh because it was a so warm atmosphere. We felt as if we were friends from many years, not just few days ago … wooww I still feel that energy on me! 

C.M. : And how were you involved in dance. When did you decide to become a ballerina ? 

A.L. : It is an interesting story because I never imagined that I would be a dancer. It was a dream from my mother. Before ten years old I never imagined that I would dance as I never had seen ballet. She brought me to a Ballet School and I started to love this art. I'm grateful to her and to my teachers who gave me this passion for this art that now is part of me. I started to take classes in a school in Bielorussia and moved to Moscou at fifteen. I was prize winner in the Moscou ballet competition and was invited at the Boshoi Ballet Academy and it was a huge change for me because to change Minsk which is really a cosy, quite and confident city to Moscou which is always crowded with people in a rush and so on, it was really difficult but of course I adapted and now after nine years I feel this city to be not my home but I feel confortable there. And now I really love dancing there because it is my way, what I chose for me to be my life. 

After graduation I was invited at the Bolshoi but I knew that I had to start at the Corps and maybe spend time there so I decided to join the Stanivlasky because I knew I would get much more opportunities to grow up and because I saw that I would be able to dance many roles quickly so yes this is my first company and I'm very happy, we have a really huge repertoire and I can work to be better and better with many opportunities. 

Anastasia Limenko, Black Swan Pdd with Igor Svirko.
Ibstage Galas. Photo: Josep Guindo
C.M. : And with the new Director Laurent Hilaire, did things change much? 

A.L. : Yes they did. Laurent Hilaire has turned the company to be more European, he brings more contemporary pieces and it is really interesting because we dance works of many choreographers as Ekman, Ohan Naharin, Kylian,... so there are many many people coming to our company and it is really interesting because this is also like a challenge for us the dancers because we are a classical company and with them we are able to explore other ways of dancing 

C.M. : But I think once you said that for you classical dance is the one you love most as it is also the most demanding style... 

A.L. : Yes, yes, for me classical is the most important because it is the most dificult for our body and coordination so now I'm focussed to get more roles in classical ballet because I understand that I can do contemporary pieces a little bit later in my career. Of course I want to dance them and I really like to do contemporary pieces because you feel free with your body and you can just enjoy music and choreography but in classical you always have to be on square, feel your corps, be really clean in positions and it is the most demanding in our profession.

Anastasia in class with Ballet de
Catalunya. Photo: Sila Avvakum
I want to enlarge my repertoire now dancing more styles in classical like Petipa, Grigorovich and also more neoclassical as Balanchine to grow up because you never get enough in classical, you always can be better but in contemporary is a bit diffetrent, you can compare different dancers because each one can have their own style in contemporary, In classical it's not, the possitions are what they are and you have to follow the rules... 

C.M. : And in the Stanivlasky do you also have Cracko's, Mc Millan's, etc., in your repertoire ? 

A.L. : Yes, yes, a lot... and for me my favourite choreographer is McMillan because I really like his pieces. Mayerling, Manon, these are pieces that we have in our repertory and also Romeo and Juliet this is «my» repertoire and for me these are stories I like very much... they are my preferred characters... 

C.M. : Maybe because of their dramatic side? 

A.L. : Yes, for me it is really important because I try to do my best with my technique only because this is our language and when you feel free with the language, then you can develop much better your dramatic part. When you do not need to focuss on your turns or in how much you lift your leg, this is a kind of freedom for you body. For me the most meanful thing is to bring stories on stage to share emotions with the audience. 

I think this is the most important in our profession than to show our techique. You can see incredible stuff in circus and gymnastic and sport and they will be better than us, but in the theater we can show emotions and you should understand the meaning of the ballet, what the choreographer wants to tell. 

Anastasia Limenko, Black Swan. Ibstage Galas.
Photo: Sila Avvakum

For me it is my goal to involve more and more the audience to our art so that our art can really bright because we show people that world can also be beautiful when negative things happen. We try the world to be better with the beauty we bring. Of course our stories are about love, true love and happiness but there is also sadness, as it happens in life, and we have to accept that we can be sad but we turn sadness in a positive way, it is a different kind of sadness that can change you. You should accept that we can be sad but this can show you also how to be a better person. So yes this is the way I understand our art and for me this is the most beautiful work I can do. 

C.M. : Wooowww... this is so beautiful what you are saying.... 

A.L. : Well, this is what I really think about our profession and I feel so happy with it! 

Anastasia Limenko Black Swan.
Ibstage Galas. Photo: Sila Avvakum
C.M. : Does the company tour? 

A.L. : Now not really. Because when our direction changed they decided that we should be more in Moscou. They wanted to change a lot our company and this is impossible if you are touring. But by my own I tour. When I started my vacation, that in fact I haven't had vacations, I began with a tour in South Korea, which also was an amazing experience, then I had these Galas in Mexico and now I'm here. This is a huge treasure for me because I meet wonderful people and each person you meet can be like a teacher for you, they can change your mind and this are experiences that reach you and make you to see other things, so I really like this. 

C.M. : And how do you feel here in Ibstage with all the students and sharing the stage with them ? 

A.L. : I feel really confortable because it is my third year. In September last year we arrived at the same time with Kimin Kim so we spent a lot of time together and many dancers came earlier too but this year I'm the first and I feel a little bit lonely but I really like Spain and I do love Barcelona and everybbody here at Ibstage does their best to make me feel comfortable and I really appreciate the opportunity to perform here beacuse it is also important for me to share my dance with many different people.

I really want to wish Ibstage a good future and also to the company the Ballet de Catalunya. I understand that the situation is complicated now but I really wish them the best because they are all very nice and high professional people. This is such a really good thing for the ballet world these Ibstage courses and Galas and that a so brilliant new Company has born! 

Anastasia Limenko in class at Institut
del Teatre. Photo: Sila Avvakum
C.M. : Have you seen the company rehearsing these days? 

A.L. : Yes I saw them rehearsing with Larissa Lezhnina and I know Rebecca Storani as we met already at the first Gala and we communicated really well, we are like friends and now it is really interesting because they are creating their own version of Don Quixote. And also it is fantastic beacuse they are inviting many people to work for the company because the possibility is really nice. I think they should be at the Theater of the Liceu and that they have more advertising in Catalunya because this is an amazing opportunity for the ballet and for Catalunya. I cross my fingers so that they can develop but I think all be ok because when there is passion on what one is doing then one can only succeed!! I also think that local companies have to be involved in promoting the culture and the art, they have to give funds so that this great reality that the Ballet de Catalunya is now, can continue its amazing work. 

C.M. : And for this year Gala what will you bring on stage ? 

A.L.: Well Igor will arrive on 1st september morning. It will be the premiere for him and for us together with Black Swan and we'll rehearse only the day of the fisrt gala in the morning. But no problem, for me it is ok because when I came the first time to Ibstage it was really difficult as I flew on the night and I had two performances the same day of my arrival and then I had to fly back to Moscou immediately. This has been the hardest stuff I have had to face and I survived and all went well so I'm sure I can afford anything!! And of course we already know each other because Bolshoi and Stanivlasky are very close in Moscou and we all communicate very often, so no problem for us. I hope the audience will enjoy the Galas, I'm very happy to have been invited again. 

Nice, friendly and very cute, Anastasia agrees to be photographed with all those who ask her or she  spontaneously poses in front of the professional objective of Sila Avvakum, official photographer of the Mariinsky Theater of Sant Petesburg, who every year comes from Russia to cover Ibstage in Barcelona. The great teacher, very dear to all, Piotr Nardelli sees her and comes quickly to kiss her hand while she offers him a beautiful arabesque.

Anastasia Limenko after the interview at the Institut del Teatre.
Photo: Sila Avvakum

Anastasia takes the opportunity to discover Barcelona these days, she walks a lot, from the center to the sea and to the sea to her hotel. Yesterday she walked five hours non stop. She says that these are the few days of vacations she will have but she loves so much her job and she is so passionate with what her life is that no matter. 

We knew the amazing dancer she is and now we have discovered the so warm and nice human being behind. Thank you very much and please come back soon Anastasia! The Catalan audience really loves you !!