Bayerisches Junior Ballett München

3/4 Preludes

Music »Three Preludes« (1926)
Costume Susanne Stehle

When the junior company was founded in 2010 it was intended that a body of performance repertoire be curated to further the dancers’ artistic development in a broad spectrum of choreographic styles. At the time, Richard Siegal was emerging as an exciting new choreographic voice. When he contributed his piece «The New 45» to support the company’s development so too began a fruitful collaboration with the choreographer. Staged for five years consecutively, «The New 45» became an audience favourite wherever the company travelled and offered generations of dancers the chance to weave the movement’s playful nuances together with their distinct individuality as dancers.

Following the success of this initial collaboration, in 2016 Richard Siegal came to Munich to create a new work directly with the company’s dancers. Set to the famous piano pieces by George Gershwin, Siegal has created a work that translates each and every one of Gershwin’s musical notes into movement. Always fascinated by syncopation and Afro-Caribbean rhythms, Siegal not only deconstructs common ballet and movement phrases but reconstructs them into clusters of new movement ideas. Known for his perfectionism, it is customary that the choreographer places the dancers as celebrated individuals in the foreground of his work.

George Gerswin intended to create a cycle of 24 preludes. However, shortly after performing the first five at a soirée at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City in 1926 he abandoned the idea and released a short collection of three piano pieces one year later. At a time when the composer had written his famous «Rhapsody in Blue» in 1924 and «Concerto in F» in 1925, «Three Preludes» contains some of the most well known and loved examples of American classical music influenced by jazz. For traditional audiences of the time, it was extremely uncommon that a classical composer would adopt such highly syncopated rhythms or chords that contained flattened seventh harmonies. Not to mention the incessant battle between the major and minor tonalities that features so prominently at the end of the work, the preludes and their adoption into popular culture has also evolved in the hundred years since their creation.

Richard Siegal was a member of William Forysthe’s Ballet Frankfurt before founding an interdisciplinary platform for performance art called The Bakery in 2006. Following acclaimed productions for the Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, CCN Ballet National de Marseille and the Bavarian State Ballet Siegal went on to establish the ballet of Difference in 2016. The company interrogates ballet and the position it holds as a cultural artifact in the 21st century. It uses the question of difference as a departure point and together with a diverse group of artists from different cultural and aesthetic backgrounds seeks to demonstrate the artforms relevance in contemporary times. Siegal continues to create for companies around the world including recent commissions for the Staatsoper Berlin and Tanztheater Wuppertal.

Premiered on 27th November 2016 as part of a Matinee by the Heinz Bosl Foundation at the National Theater in Munich


Rehearsal Trailer