A modern ballet programme entitled Mad Dance! – Yet There Is Method In It is the first production in the 2015/16 season of the Hungarian National Ballet at the Erkel Theatre. The programme features four pieces: Petite mort, Six Dances and Troy Game (all which have premiered in the past two years) as well as Johan Inger's extraordinary choreography, Walking Mad, which is put on stage in Hungary for the first time.
Johan Inger, the former artistic director of the Cullberg Ballet and one-time director of the Swedish Royal Ballet and the Netherlands Dance Theatre first debuted as a choreographer 20 years ago at the instigation of the influential Jiří Kylián. His first attempt (Mellantid) was an immediate success and was followed by numerous other choreographies, including Walking Mad, conceived for the stage with nine dancers moving to the music of Ravel’s Bolero. The piece reflects the Socratic principle that “the greatest blessings find us in the face of madness”. For his breathtaking dance, Johan Inger won both the Lucas Hoving Prize for best production and the Danza & Danza Prize in the same year.
“The famous Bolero by Ravel with its sexual, almost kitsch history was the trigger for me to make my own version. I quickly decided that it was going to be about relationships in different forms and circumstances. I came up with the idea of a wall that could transform the space during this minimalistic music and create small pockets of space and situations. Walking Mad is a journey in which we encounter our fears, our longings and the lightness of being,” said the work’s creator.
The playbill features three popular modern choreographies besides Walking Mad.
Troy Game is a choreography by Robert North that combines the everyday routine of dancers with movements inspired by martial arts such as the Japanese aikido or the Brazilian capoeira while a strong European root connects these influences: ancient Greek war games. The music comprises batucada, a street version of samba played on percussion instruments, which played a vital role in composing the movements, and an original piece by Bob Downes, an influential artist of avant-garde jazz. The costumes were designed by Peter Farmer, well known for his work with most of the major ballet companies of the world.
Petite Mort by Jiří Kylián was produced especially for the Salzburg Festival in 1991, for the 200th anniversary Mozart’s death. This dance piece with a unique atmosphere features six female and six male dancers who dance to the most beautiful excerpts taken from the composer’s piano concertos. Six swords also appear in this performance. They act like real partners to the dancers creating more unusual, unbridled and extraordinary situations than real flesh and blood dancers. A bold spectacle, great dance roles and a sophisticated style characterise this ballet from a mature era of the choreographer.
In Six Dances Kylián transforms the Mozartian playfulness and absurd reality into the language of movements. He did not want to tell a story, instead, he based his piece on the definition of the word ‘burlesque’ that features unrealistic heroes in surreal situations. This piece does not lack impish elements, either: the lively scenes are witty caricatures of the eternal male-female relationships. The eight dancers seem at first to be stepping out of a museum of waxworks from the time of Mozart, but the innovative and fresh choreography with its overwhelming dynamism make these heroes more modern, out of time, general characters of Kylian’s absurd creative world.
Watch the footage from the rehearsal of Walking Mad HERE.
For further information on the production Mad Dance! – Yet There Is Method In It CLICK HERE.