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 Post subject: Ballett Frankfurt
PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2003 3:41 pm 
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BALLETT FRANKFURT (GERMANY)

WHAT: KAMMER/KAMMER

WHEN: WED 22 – SAT 25 OCT

WHERE: SADLER’S WELLS

TICKETS: 020 7863 8000

‘Extraordinarily fertile and
inventive… taking dance
into the 21st century’

BBC Radio 3, Feb 2003

click here for details


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 Post subject: Re: Ballett Frankfurt
PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2003 6:56 am 
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<img src="http://www.criticaldance.com/interviews/2003/images/kammerdana1.jpg" alt="" />

Inside Transitions - An Interview with Richard Siegal of Ballett Frankfurt
by Donald Hutera

Ballett Frankfurt’s third Umbrella visit since 1998 will also be its last under the artistic directorship of revered American expatriate William Forsythe. In spring 2002 word spread like wildfire through the global dance community that the Frankfurt politicians wanted to have classical story ballets on the stage of their city’s premier dance company. Anyone who has seen Forsythe’s startling and challenging productions knows what an alien concept that would be to him. The situation was never resolved in a mutually satisfying fashion.

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<small>[ 05 October 2003, 08:57 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Ballett Frankfurt
PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2003 3:18 am 
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Interview with William Forsythe from The Guardian.

Quote:
Eighteen months ago, it seemed that William Forsythe would be leaving his beloved Ballett Frankfurt within weeks. The acclaimed choreographer had come under sustained and anonymous attack from the forces of conservatism in Frankfurt: the press claimed that he was burnt out and that audiences were turning away from his work; the city council talked of replacing his innovative modern company with a "classical story-ballet" company; and there were dark mutterings about the subsidy Ballett Frankfurt received.
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 Post subject: Re: Ballett Frankfurt
PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2003 11:28 pm 
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Kammer Chameleon
By Donald Hutera
The year's Dance Umbrella marks the swansong of a singular man


Quote:
BALLETT FRANKFURT’S third visit to Dance Umbrella since 1998 will also be its last under the artistic directorship of William Forsythe. The revered American is moving on, having spent the past two decades shaping his company of 38 dancers into the world’s leading avant-garde troupe.
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 Post subject: Re: Ballett Frankfurt
PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2003 3:51 am 
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Article from The Telegraph.

Quote:
When a dancer wobbles, we wince. Just a little tremor, and bang goes the illusion. In fact, a wobble is almost a moral crime against the theatre. William Forsythe knows a thing or two about wobbling, since his choreography famously sticks dancers into attitudes closer to extreme sports than to the classical arabesque.

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 Post subject: Re: Ballett Frankfurt
PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2003 1:13 am 
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article from The Independent.

Quote:
'If anything, we choreograph the viewer's gaze." The American choreographer William Forsythe is describing Kammer/Kammer, the dance-theatre piece he's bringing to Sadler's Wells in London.

Forsythe, now 53, is wiry, softly-spoken and voluble. He sits with one leg slung over the arm of his chair, demonstrating gestures or bouncing up and down for emphasis. He launches gleefully into details about his new piece: the plot, the practicalities, theories. In print, and sometimes on stage, his theoretical side can be determinedly dense. In person, he's eager to explain.

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 Post subject: Re: Ballett Frankfurt
PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2003 5:02 am 
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Review from the Times.

Quote:
WILLIAM FORSYTHE is one of the most sophisticated intelligences working in dance today, exercising parts of the brain most other dance-makers fail to reach. After a messy run-in with Frankfurt politicians he will soon be leaving his post as artistic director of Ballett Frankfurt. This renders Ballett Frankfurt’s appearance this week as part of the Dance Umbrella festival something of an historic occasion.
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And from The Independent.

Quote:
Do you need to see Kammer/Kammer, or is it enough to talk about it? William Forsythe's dance/theatre piece is so self-conscious, so busy regarding itself, that it hardly seems to happen at all.

Kammer/Kammer, brought to London as part of Dance Umbrella, is Forsythe's last work with Ballett Frankfurt. He's leaving after a messy falling out with the city politicians, who have planned to close the company from under him, perhaps to replace it with a more traditional ballet troupe. There are a total of 20 dances in Kammer/Kammer, but it's closer to a play than a ballet.

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And The Guardian.

[quote]

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<small>[ 23 October 2003, 07:09 AM: Message edited by: Joanne ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Ballett Frankfurt
PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2003 12:33 am 
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Review from The Telegraph.

Quote:
Sadler's Wells looks terrific with a pale grey stage and walls instead of the usual boxy black - light and fresh. As you sit down, there is a lot of messy warming-up by dozens of studenty people in sweatshirts, walls being shifted, microphones and cameras being tested. A smart American blonde in beige identifies herself as Catherine Deneuve. A bony geek in big glasses and a bobble hat shouts over the hubbub that 90 per cent of what we'll hear is in German.

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 Post subject: Re: Ballett Frankfurt
PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2003 1:28 am 
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Kammer/Kammer
By Clement Crisp for The Financial Times


As we entered the auditorium they were already at it on stage. A litter of DIY structures sheltered the members of the Frankfurt Ballet as they shouted and went about their disjunct business, while a man in blue shirt and hateful little hat chattered with undammable vivacity. Those dire words "Tanztheater" were uttered and, by heaven, were justified during the ensuing 100 minutes. This is William Forsythe's troupe in its final season - the burghers of Frankfurt require for the future something nearer the company's title: ballet rather than teases and costive intellectualism.

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******************************

Touching tour of the human heart
Ismene Brown for The Daily Telegraph reviews Ballett Frankfurt at Sadler's Wells

Sadler's Wells looks terrific with a pale grey stage and walls instead of the usual boxy black - light and fresh. As you sit down, there is a lot of messy warming-up by dozens of studenty people in sweatshirts, walls being shifted, microphones and cameras being tested. A smart American blonde in beige identifies herself as Catherine Deneuve. A bony geek in big glasses and a bobble hat shouts over the hubbub that 90 per cent of what we'll hear is in German.

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 Post subject: Re: Ballett Frankfurt
PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2003 3:47 am 
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A first in multimedia studies
When is a ballet not a ballet? When it's also a film, a lecture and a play. By Jann Parry for The Observer.

As usual with William Forsythe's creations for Ballett Frankfurt, Kammer/Kammer appears to be under way before you're seated. People are milling about onstage, practising steps, shifting sets, testing camera angles. Meanwhile, programme notes with erudite quotes are so daunting that you wonder how you'll cope with this mixed media show and its juxtaposed stories.

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 Post subject: Re: Ballett Frankfurt
PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2003 2:59 am 
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For me the most immediate and exciting things about Kammer/Kammer were, first, the performances by Dana Caspersen and Anthony Rizzi, and second, the sheer craftsmanship with which this otherwise highly fragmented multimedia production was put together. On the one hand the dancing, acting, filming, and broadcast of live edited video seemed to relate to one another in an open ended, almost indeterminate way; but at the same time everything was evidently planned tightly and executed with extraordinary precision.

Two stories were told in monologues. Caspersen recited the Canadian poet Anne Carson's lyrical but edgy fantasy about becoming Catherine Deneuve in a film about a lesbian classics professor obsessed with The Girl, a role danced by Jone San Martin. Rizzi recited extracts from Douglas Martin's bluntly unsentimental and terse autobiographical account of his affair with a gay rock star. Common to both stories were not only same sex relations but also the alien anonymity of hotel rooms. Almost all the while there was dancing going on, usually three or four dancers weaving and crashing together around and on one of two big mattresses, each half hidden and surrounded by flats painted to look like bedroom walls, or single figures dancing on their own slightly to one side of Deneuve or Rizzi. San Martin was the only figure who both danced and had a significant speaking part. I heard some people complaining afterwards that there wasn't enough dancing; I think they were mistaken. It was just that the dancing almost never became the primary focus of attention. For all the dancers' energy and inventiveness, the audience were continually distracted from it by either the seductive power of the video or the equally seductive narratives of unfulfilled gay and lesbian desire.

Initially the filming took place in the parts of the stage that were visible from the auditorium. Increasingly, however, it happened in other spaces that were largely hidden. Around the stage, painted flats were arranged to create these spaces, so that it resembled a film studio. (Interestingly, the first performance in Frankfurt was at the Bockenheimer Depot which is not in a conventional proscenium theatre.) At times, particularly when a robot camera suspended above the stage was used, the effect of this was spatially very disorienting. Cunningham has written about his realization that there are no fixed points in stage space. Forsythe's deliberate fragmentation of stage space takes Cunningham's idea to a hyperbolic extreme. It does this by exploiting spatial disjunctions. A sense of frontality was created when Caspersen or Rizzi performed to the video camera rather than towards the audience and their image was transmitted to the big video screens on stage and hanging throughout the auditorium. Because this clashed with the 'front' of the proscenium which the audience themselves faced, one became aware that not only are points not fixed but that they can be disturbingly multiple, belonging simultaneously to irreconcilable time spaces. The relationship between all these elements, and with less obvious ones like the movement of flats to create temporary new spaces or to reveal previously hidden ones, defied rationalisation. It continually evaded any expectations of conventional closure, despite the personable qualities of the narrators and the hook of their narratives. The piece montaged together these various elements and experiences. At their most interesting, these produced startling and disturbing juxtapositions. But despite this openness, one could not but marvel at the meticulousness and the hard work with which everything come together: I might almost say, to fall back on an old cliché, with Germanic efficiency.

Perhaps this makes Kammer/Kammer sound dry and technical, but this was far from the case. At times the tone was moody and reflective, at other moments alarmingly histrionic, and this was often produced not only by the performers' modes of address, but also as a result of the kinds of spatial experiences that were created. At one moment Rizzi as the boy could just be seen from the auditorium sitting alone at a long trestle table right at the back of the stage reading out a painfully melancholy incident. In the central episode of the second half, Rizzi as the boy found himself having to intervene between Caspersen as Deneuve and San Martin as the object of her obsession as they literally grappled and screaming at one another, prowling round in a pathological circuit in a claustrophobic cubicle only visible from the auditorium on video or through a small gap in a wall of screens. Forsythe and his dancers really know how to pile chaos over chaos, and how to ratchet up the emotional tension.

Kammer/Kammer is not a playful exercise in postmodern irony that subversively destabilizes meaning in a game of clever citation and simulacra. If anything it is an attempt to go so far down the deconstructive path that it produces performative intensities that are as unbearable for today's audiences as the expressive modern dance of Wigman and Graham was in the first half of the last century. The critics who knock Forsythe (Rizzi has a cruelly brilliant dig at Anna Kiss-of-death) may want to believe the good old days are still with us. Those were the days when dancers just danced and let critics do the philosophising. One of the things some critics have attacked are the philosophical quotes Forsythe often places in his programmes. In most of Europe, philosophy is a central part of the educational curriculum in a way that is not the case in England and the United States. The programme for Kammer/Kammer comes with two quotations. The first is from Feuerbach (1804-72), a Hegelian philosopher of history whose ideas were severely criticised by Karl Marx. The passage Forsythe has found sounds curiously like Jean Baudrillard, and discusses the way modern people are only interested in artificial copies of reality and attribute an almost sacred quality to these. This is clearly connected with elements like Caspersen's strong resemblance to Deneuve, and the trompe l'oeil painting on the stage flats. The other quote comes from Giles Deleuze (1925-95), and discusses the relationship between seeing and saying. Running through Kammer/Kammer is a split between what the audience see, and whether we choose to see it directly or on video, and what we hear: music, sound effects, and, of course, spoken words. (The person with a megaphone in Forsythe's Artefact also talked about this gap, when he welcomed the audience to 'what you think you see', etc.). Deleuze suggests that this kind of gap can only be bridged outside these forms and in another dimension. Maybe it sounds pretentious to say that it is towards another dimension that is neither just spoken nor seen that Kammer/Kammer invites audiences to focus their attention. But the performance is nevertheless an invitation to go beyond the good old, familiar ways of looking at dance in order to try and find something else. As I already observed, there is a lot of dancing going on all through Kammer/Kammer that somehow a lot of people seemed not to notice. The dimensions that Deleuze was referring to, and which clearly interest Forsythe, are probably always there already, but we just haven't noticed them yet.


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 Post subject: Re: Ballett Frankfurt
PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2003 2:02 am 
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Review from The Independent.

Quote:
William Forsythe's latest, extraordinary work (and his last, for Ballett Frankfurt, now that the city has pulled the financial rug from under him) bears the title Kammer/ Kammer. This refers, I think, not only to the bedrooms where many of the intimate events recounted happen, but more importantly to the kind of exploded double-chamber work Forsythe has invented. For Kammer/ Kammer is unlike anything seen before in theatre or cinema, still less from a ballet company
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 Post subject: Re: Ballett Frankfurt
PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2003 4:47 am 
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Just adding my penny’s worth. To be honest I find artful illustrations of unrequited love of any form just a tad tedious. I could marvel though at the technology, the direction and manipulation of video footage, space, and spoken text. The sequestered areas on the stage that served as subtext for the monologues and the soundscape that emphasised the tensions between persons in numerous encounters occurring at the moment or talked about by the main characters, “Catherine Deneuve” and the “boy in the blue sock hat”, were intriguing as well as aggravating. Dancers wrangled and twisted in corners and on mattresses illustrating unrefined and chaotic frustrations. With all its controversies, a dance work that is a “piece” not a “ballet”, being also the swan song of William Forsythe and Ballet Frankfurt but then, maybe Forsythe will have a smaller company somewhere in Germany after all made those last words spoken by “Deneuve” just a bit loaded. As the door slowly opens and the video image dissolves and the lights go out its not really over is it. Will the girl walk through the door….? There seems to be a subtext like the rest of the work, so many layers; significance as well as frivolity, movement, dance, technology, sound, and staging all mixing together. A subtext, perhaps a promise that there is something yet to look forward too, for this story, for this art, whether you like it or not………….!

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 Post subject: Re: Ballett Frankfurt
PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2003 1:19 am 
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I was amazed at the creative and theatrical flair that Forsythe brought to this show. And if "show" seems an odd word to use with a high-art avant-garde work, there was no shortage of knockabout fun in "Kammer Kammer".

There was plenty of other interest in this work. Dana Casperson gives a terrific performance as a lecturer imagining that she is Catherine Deneuve. Her control gradually slips away in the face of her infatuation with a difficult student. Her imitation of Deneuve and much else in the production relates to the ideas of Baudrillard - what is real, what is simulated? The French philosopher coins the term "hyperreal" the more real than real and there were times when the manipulated videos of the action were more entrancing than the originals, illustrating Baudrillard's point.

Further, the levels of activity in the compartmentalised areas of the stage and their representation on screens provide a heady visual spectacle.

But what of the dance I hear you say? Well when we do see dance it is of the highest standards with the Frankfurt performers displaying a flexibility so great that they almost seem without a bone structure and the intricacy of the dance and the furious pace of the movement picking up the frustrations of the Deneuve character and the troubled boyfriend of a pop star who is the other main character.

So this is Gesamtkunstwerk or total art of a high order. However I would like to have seen more dance - hey! I'm a dance fan. Thus, while admiring the creativity and merits of "Kammer Kammer", of the various Forsythe works I have seen this is not one I would rush to see again.

When you consider that in the space of four years Forsythe created "Kammer Kammer" and the classical ballet on speed of "The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude", there can be little doubt that he is one of the most inventive and successful choreographers working today. One of the career options he has outlined is to extend his teaching in the poor areas of Rio de Janeiro, if the problems connected with setting up a new company prove too great. Worthy though this is, I for one hope those who want to replace him with "Coppelia" don't succeed.

<small>[ 04 November 2003, 03:56 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Ballett Frankfurt
PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2003 3:46 pm 
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One of the things that facinated me about Kammer/Kammer was how the use of video projections made what happened on stage often behind compartment walls seemingly more real and itimate than if it had been in full view.

Dana Caspersen was simply terrific as 'Deneuve'.
When she retires from dancing I think she might want to consider becoming an actress. She clearly has what it takes for his career move.

Antony Rizzi the 'Boy in the blue sock hat' has already worked as an actor in Belgium and it shows. I was also quite taken with his good command of German at the very beginning of the piece when he explained to any Germans in the audience that although they were usually performing this work in German (which I do not believe) they had decided that this would not be appropriate in London.

I would have prefered more dancing though. The dancers are so amazingly flexible that it makes you wonder if they have the same bones and joints as other mortals. It sure did not look like it.
There was one particularly frustrating moment when we caught a glimpse of some dancers performing on a mattress in a room without being filmed. I would have liked nothing better than to extend my neck all the way to the stage and through the 'door' in order to see better.
Well, one cannot have everything.

Although a worthy endeavour I hope Forsythe is not going to end up teaching in Rio de Janeiro. There are still works for him to create and audiences to puzzle in Europe and the rest of the world.


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