<< -- 2 -- Sissy von Kotzebue and Tess Crebbin DANCE, BERNSTEIN!
'The ballet is not primarily, not only, biographical,' says Neumeier of his choreography. 'Combining songs with short symphonic works, I conceived a Ballet Revue based on the music and spirit of Leonard Bernstein. Episodes from his biography -- exterior events and more importantly, interior situations -- should be suggested. The construction of the ballet is similar to that of a revue, meaning a collage of separate parts. It is, in effect, a danced mosaic. It should be enjoyable, lucid, and moving without direct reference to the composer. For clarity, I arranged the chosen pieces according to a chronological, biographical structure.'
And how did Armani come into the picture?
'Giorgio Armani, with his subtle sensitivity to color, cut and fabric -- defining the human body in motion -- seemed to be the perfect designer to unify the diverse parts of this mosaic,' Neumeier explains.
When the curtain opens to the electrifying sound of the Candide overture, large photographs of Bernstein dominate the stage. Then they slowly disappear skyward, leaving behind an obviously exhausted young man sleeping on his piano after having composed all night.
'I decided to use this image to begin Bernstein Dances,' explains Neumeier. 'A boy alone at the piano -- experimenting with sound, discovering his own, very special instrument of communication.'
To the music from Peter Pan look-alikes appear behind, under and before the piano, imitating the dancer/composer but also teasing him. The charming song 'Who am I' plays on one of the central questions of Bernstein's life. Neumeier explains that there was a time when Bernstein did not know where he belonged, a feeling that Neumeier could always identify with and that he wants to show in the section titled 'The Beginning'.
Copyright © 26 June 2004
Sissy von Kotzebue and Tess Crebbin, Germany