5*****

In five-star choreographies, created by five star choreographers, Introdans gives its dancers the chance to shine like stars in the dance heavens. The programme 5★★★★★ shows the richness and diversity of contemporary ballet, ranging from dreamy lyricism to scintillating virtuosity. In addition to Mauro de Candia’s beautiful La Morte del Cigno, the show contains no less than four new works for Introdans, created by Jiří Kylián, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Robert Battle and Ben Van Cauwenbergh – four choreographers who each, in their own way, challenge their dancers and move their audiences. The title 5★★★★★ is also a critical nod to the current trend of ‘measuring’ art by awarding a number of stars.

Introdans premiere Dreamtime by Jiří Kylián

When it was given its world premiere at the Nederlands Dans Theater in 1983, Jiří Kylián’s Dreamtime permanently imprinted itself in the memory of Introdans’ artistic director Roel Voorintholt. So Voorintholt is delighted that he can now make this moving ballet from Kylián’s lyrical period accessible to new generations. The master choreographer set his work to music by Toru Takemitsu and also drew inspiration from a statement by the composer. Takemitsu said that his method of composing is comparable to walking through a Japanese garden: “The garden might not have such a large surface area but it offers all the more in terms of height and depth.” Or in other words: there is always more than you see. As Kylián himself says, after seeing Dreamtime you don’t know whether you have watched a ballet or have been dreaming for a while.

Dutch premiere Loin by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui

Following on from In Memoriam and Orbo Novo, Introdans is once again including a creation by the internationally famed Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui in its repertoire. The Flemish-Moroccan choreographer made Loin for the Grand Théâtre de Genève in 2005 and Introdans is the first other company to receive permission to perform this work. Loin is about distance, distance between individuals, countries and cultures, but also about what connects us as people. Against the background of a monumental Moroccan wall, Cherkaoui creates a meditative atmosphere in which he uses his flowing, organic dance language and his characteristic, dizzyingly fast arm movements to shape a hallucinatory choreography.

Dutch premiere Les Bourgeois by Ben Van Cauwenbergh

The lighter note in this programme is from the Flemish choreographer Ben Van Cauwenbergh, former star soloist of the Royal Ballet Flanders and the London Festival Ballet, where among other roles he danced superbly in Rudolf Nureyev’s Romeo and Julia. In the little gem Les Bourgeois Van Cauwenbergh gives us a playful dance translation of Jacques Brel’s song of the same name. But however ‘loose’ and nonchalant the choreography may seem, it demands the utmost of the male soloist in terms of virtuosity and acting skill. This is why Les Bourgeois is a popular item at ballet galas and competitions.

Dutch premiere Unfold by Robert Battle

Artistic director Roel Voorintholt already noticed the American Robert Battle while the latter was still dancing at David Parsons Dance and had just begun making his own choreographies. Now Battle is the artistic director of the prestigious Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and his work is internationally in demand, but he seldom accepts other commissions. Introdans has no less than nine of his works in its repertoire and Unfold now moves the total up to ten. This duet sketches a picture of fresh love, but instead of frisky puppy love these feelings are intense, passionate and maybe also fraught. While Battle has previously shown a strong preference for robust percussive music in his work, for Unfold he has now chosen a classical aria from Gustave Charpentier’s opera Louise, and this has a striking effect on his dance idiom.

La Morte del Cigno by Mauro de Candia

In La Morte del Cigno the Italian choreographer Mauro de Candia presents an outstanding contemporary male interpretation of The Dying Swan, the short solo made immortal by the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. De Candia retains the overfamiliar music, Le Cygne from Camille Saint-Saëns’ Le Carnival des Animaux. But in contrast to the fragile, vulnerable bird from the original choreography by Michel Fokine (1905), this ‘dying swan’ is a self-willed, proud beast that tries to find a way to freedom with huge animal power, passion and suppleness.