DANCE INVERSIONInternational Contemporary Dance Festival
NUSSKNACKER UND MAUSEKÖNIG
Premiere: 14 October 2017, Zurich Opera House
Choreography Christian Spuck
Music Pyotr Tchaikovsky
Conductor Paul Connelly, Yannis Pouspourikas
Stage design Rufus Didwiszus
Costume design Buki Shiff
Lighting design Martin Gebhardt
Chorus master Ernst Raffelsberger
Dramaturgy Michael Kuster, Claus Spahn
Switzerland’s largest professional ballet company has been directed by Christian Spuck since the 2012/13 season. Resident at Zurich Opera House, the 36-strong ensemble not only features prominently in the Opera House’s programme; its international guest performances are also regularly acclaimed.
Formerly the Ballet of the Zurich City Theatre, the company was shaped by its directors Nicholas Beriozoff, Patricia Neary, Uwe Scholz and Bernd Bienert. Within a few short years, Swiss choreographer Heinz Spoerli, Ballet Director from 1996 to 2012, established the company as one of the leading European ballet ensembles.
Under the direction of German choreographer Christian Spuck, the company continues to cultivate its established traditions and to tread new artistic paths, continuously developing the genre of traditional narrative ballet using innovative choreographic techniques. The dancers also dedicate their energies to contemporary, abstract dance. Internationally renowned choreographers such as William Forsythe, Paul Lightfoot, Sol Leon, Douglas Lee, Martin Schlapfer, Jiři Kylian, Wayne McGregor, Marco Goecke and Mats Ek work in Zurich, ensuring that the company’s repertoire remains stylistically varied. In the Young Choreographers series, members of the ensemble assume personal artistic responsibility.
The Junior Ballet was established in 2001 as an institution aimed at promoting talented young dancers, giving fourteen young dancers from all over the world the opportunity to enjoy a supervised transition from the end of their training to full entry into professional life. During an engagement lasting no more than two years, they train together with the members of Ballett Zurich, dance with them at selected performances from the repertoire, and at a ballet evening arranged especially for them once every season. They thus gather the stage experience necessary for a dance career.
Ballett Zurich's performances are accompanied by a comprehensive supporting programme featuring matinees before ballet premieres; introductions to works before the performances; regular ballet discussions; and a wide variety of special projects for children, young people and schools.
ARTISTIC DIRECTOR - Ballett Zürich
Christian Spuck is a native of Marburg, Germany and director of the Ballett Zurich since season 2012/13. After receiving his initial ballet training at the renowned John Cranko Schule in Stuttgart, he embarked on his subsequent dance career with Jan Lauwers’s Needcompany and Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker's Rosas ensemble. He joined the Stuttgart Ballet in 1995 and was appointed choreographer-in-residence of the Stuttgart Ballet in 2001. Choreographies for the Stuttgart ballet include das siebte blau (2000), Lulu. Eine Monstretragödie (2003), Der Sandmann (2006) and Das Fräulein von S. (2012).
Christian Spuck has produced further choreographies for several renowned ballet companies in Europe and the USA. These include Morphing Games for the Aterballetto of Italy (1999), Adagio for dancers of the New York City Ballet (2000), this - for the Berlin Staatsoper Ballet (2003), The Restless (2005) for Hubbard Street Dance 2, The Return of Ulysses (2006) for the Royal Ballet of Flanders (with guest performance at the Edinburgh International Festival in 2009), Leonce und Lena (2008) for the Aalto Ballet at Theater Essen, that has also been incorporated into the repertoires of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Stuttgart Ballet and Ballett Zurich, and Woyzeck (2011) for the Oslo National Ballet, which has also been performed by the Ballett Zurich.
Choreographies for the Ballett Zurich include Romeo und Julia (2012), Sonett (2014) and Anna Karenina (2014).
In recent years Christian Spuck has extended his artistic reach to film and musical theatre.
Amongst others, he directed Orphée et Eurydice (2009) for the Staatstheater Stuttgart, Falstaff (2010) for the Staatstheater Wiesbaden and La damnation de Faust (2014) for the Deutsche Oper Berlin. Marcia Haydée als Penelope, a 25-minute dance film featuring Marcia Haydee and Robert Tewsley, was broadcast by ARTE in 2006. In 2005, his full-length ballet Die Kinder (2004) for the Aalto Ballett Theater of Essen was nominated for the “Prix Benois de la Danse”. And his original production of Poppea//Poppea for Gauthier Dance at the Theaterhaus Stuttgart was named one of the world's ten most successful dance productions of 2010 by “Dance Europe” magazine, and also won Germany's theatre prize “Der Faust 2011” and the Italian “Danza/Danza” award.