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A dancer fills the room with desire. This is a solo of flowing release, unfolding over the gentle waves of sound with which the famous »Blue Danube« begins, before the waltz starts spinning, repeatedly drawing strength from those nerve-tingling hesitations that are so typical of a music that more than any other represents everything one associates with »Vienna«. Other dancers join in, using the suspension of the metric heartbeat to discover the potential for a tango and the pointe shoe as a dangerous weapon or throwing themselves into the ecstasy of waltz, only to thwart it immediately afterwards with a highly focused physical tension. One dancer loses her nerve, another finds his knees trembling instead of standing stiffly to attention in front of an imaginary General. Martin Schläpfer opens his premiere for the State Opera with a new version of his 2006 ballet »Marsch, Walzer, Polka«: with the »Neue Pizzicato Polka« op. 449 he has integrated an additional number into the cycle of famous Strauss dances, and he has also given the choreography a new design, for which he has been able to win Susanne Bisovsky as a partner: an artist whose experimental, »Tracht«-inspired works probe the boundaries between traditional and the avantgarde in a most congenial manner.
Gustav Mahler was »in seventh heaven« while he was working on his 5th Symphony. It had been revealed to him by his great love and future wife Alma Schindler, to whom he also dedicated the Adagietto that has now inspired Marco Goecke to create a new piece for the Vienna State Ballet. This artist, a resident choreographer first with Stuttgart Ballet, and then also with Nederlands Dans Theater and Gauthier Dance and Director of the Hanover State Ballet since 2019/20, is regarded as one of the leading contemporary choreographers. Many of his pieces literally get under one’s skin – characterised by the fluttering, trembling, wrenching and vibrating that is so typical of his style of movement, breaking out of the body from deep inside, as if placing it under a high voltage current.
With George Balanchine’s »Symphony in C«, a gorgeous homage to classical ballet completes the programme. The work first created in 1947 for the Ballet de L’Opéra in Paris under the title »Le Palais de cristal« is a beautiful evocation of the spirit of the White Acts of the St. Petersburg School and transposes the graded ranks of the Paris ensemble on to the architectural structure: a skilful interplay of soli, pas de deux and large groups culminating in a splendid finale entirely drawn from Georges Bizet’s youth symphony.