Ballet & Dance

Invitation to the 2005/2006 Ballet & Dance Season
Nearly six years have passed since I became Artistic Director of the Dance Division at the NNTT in July 1999, and my second term is soon coming to an end.The 2005/2006 season is the first year of my third term.I would like to enrich the season’s ballet and contemporary dance programme with renewed determination.


Ballet: Petipa and choreographers creating varieties of ballets in contemporary

In the previous season, we presented several of Marius Petipa’s masterpieces chosen from the New National Theatre Ballet’s repertoire. This season will feature works by David Bintley, Nacho Duato, Roland Petit, and Petipa. In particular, those by Bintley, Duato, and Petit are contemporary masterpieces that are clearly marked with their own style, rooting in different artistic backgrounds, and are highly entertaining. All three choreographers, who have a thorough knowledge of classical ballet, struck a new note using their own techniques to increase their popularity. We hope you will enjoy these works.
We open this season with British choreographer David Bintley’s Carmina Burana, performed here for the first time by Japanese Ballet Company. He started to create works at an early stage of his career, inheriting the choreographic style of the Royal Ballet’s Ashton and MacMillan, and his talent is flourishing at the Birmingham Royal Ballet, of which he is currently Artistic Director. The world premiere of Carmina Burana in 1995 enhanced his reputation even further. From the viewpoint of people living in the 21st century, the lives of those who lived in the 15th and 16th centuries lie beyond the mists of time and are somewhat mysterious and captivating. Bintley successfully adapted Carl Orff’s music based on medieval poems for contemporary dance to create a staging never experienced before. This work will open a new field for the Company in its eighth year since it was founded. This production will be joined by capable soloists and a 60-member chorus with the cooperation of the Opera Division of our theatre. We hope the world of Bintley’s ballet will leave a deep impression on the minds of the audience.
The “Nacho Duato Program” will be presented at the Playhouse. The Company has already included in its repertoire two of the works by Duato, a standard-bearer in contemporary dance, who continues to create works full of Spanish color: Duende and Jardí Tancat. This season will add a new production of Por Vos Muero, resulting in three of his works being performed simultaneously. In this work, Duato was inspired by medieval Spanish music. His love for his native country touches the audience deeply, and the contrast among the three works is really worth seeing.
The new season’s program also includes Roland Petit’s La Chauve-souris, a work that enables the audience to enjoy the stylishness and humor of French ballet to the full. Other works include Giselle, the most famous of all Romantic ballets, which was choreographed by Coralli, Perrot, and Petipa, as well as Petipa’s The Nutcracker and Swan Lake. The Tokyo Symphony Orchestra will join us to musically support our ballet performances, with the exception of the “Nacho Duato Program.”
Contemporary dance: Pursuing new possibilities
In the new season as well, we plan to present productions commissioned to highly individualistic choreographers, to have the audience enjoy dance at its best.Dance will merge with the latest technology in some performances and with percussions in others to create dance space that appeals to the five senses.
Afternoon of Fauns and Nymphs, which won high praise for its dance duets of different styles, will be staged again with Hirayama Motoko, Ran Konomi, Shimizu Fumihito, Hanayagi Seira, and Ito Takuji joined by dancers invited from overseas.This year’s production features not only duets by male and female dancers but also by male dancers only, and in addition, various ingenious plans are used to add variety to the work.Attention should be focused on this repeat production.
In Collaboration & Body, two choreographers, Nohmi Kenshi and Moriyama Kaiji, will work with artists from other fields to present two new works.Takada Midori, a percussionist, has already been chosen as Nohmi’s partner.Expectations grow as the two choreographers, who have created successive ambitious works at the NNTT, take on new challenges.
Ballet Preljocaj, which won the highest praise for its performance of Helikopter and The Rite of Spring - Le Sacre du Printemps at the NNTT in 2002, will appear at the theatre with its latest work N.In the previous performance, many viewers were deeply impressed when they encountered Angelin Preljocaj’s dance philosophy.The French dancer/choreographer’s portrayal of negative aspects of contemporary society in this new work is so intense that it is quite shocking.The production consists of program A, which will perform N, and program B, in which works selected by the choreographer will be performed as a dance concert. Both promise to be fine performances full of tension.
In addition, the new season’s program includes a new work by Maeda Kiyomi, the first of her works to be taken up by the NNTT.She has worked in a wide range of fields from jazz to contemporary dance and has an established reputation for her highly entertaining choreography and dance, and it is hoped that she will bring out the best characteristics of her choreography and dance at the NNTT as well.
Attention should be focused on stagings by each choreographer at the Playhouse or the Pit.In the 2005/2006 season, I hope I will again be able to see as many visitors as possible at the theatre.

Maki Asami
Maki Asami
Artistic Director, Ballet & Dance
New National Theatre, Tokyo
For details of the lineup and other information, please click here.

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