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'Ballet is an art form for all senses'.

Muscat: The Ballett am Rhein DE-sseldorf Duisburg will perform for two nights at the Royal Opera House Muscat this Wednesday and Thursday. Times of Oman spoke with the company's award-winning director and chief choreographer, Martin SchlEnpfer, about his work and modern ballet Can you describe how your choreography is created? To this day creating ballets -- at least for me -- is a scary thing to do. There is no recipe. Every ballet I create starts from somewhere else and then asks for a different approach, different step material and emotional and intellectual text. Sometimes it is an idea that gets me searching for music. Mostly, it is the music that shows me the direction I want to go and the designer I would like to work with. But sometimes there are also the guest choreographers who I invite for the Ballett am Rhein. One usually plans them first into a programme and then follows with one's own work. They point the direction how to counterbalance musically or dance technique wise. It is a never ending task and adventure; there is no plan to be followed. What comes to you first -- the choreography or the music? Usually the music comes first. For me music is bigger than life; it is a philosophy. It is the time in which the composer lived that gives ideas or tells you to go against the usual expectations. It is the musical structure, the rhythm, the colours, the dynamics; it is the emotional text, the sub-text and the superstructure. Being musical can also mean portraying the atmosphere of the music, at times going against it and including the entire knowledge of contemporary music and art. It is very rare that I have an idea before selecting the music. What is it you like about the music of Schubert and Brahms, which will be featured in Muscat? Schubert is a favourite of mine; his music "dances" and has so much depth, it's so light and yet so heavy -- but so human, modest and unforced. Brahms' music is not an immediate love of mine. Not always do you have to love the music completely to make a good ballet -- something being in the way can give you an extra portion of inspiration about creating differently. The dancers in your company are probably familiar with the classical ballets such as Swan Lake that inspired your Johannes Brahms - Symphony No 2 piece, so how did they respond to your choreography? Most dancers in my company have never danced Swan Lake but of course know it. I only tried to capture the atmosphere, the essence of Swan Lake into 'Johannes Brahms -- Symphony No. 2'. The 2nd Symphony of the composer is like the tide and creates a magical almost fairy tale world for me -- something yearning to another place: romantic, yet also real. So naturally, a creature quality came to my mind. What is a Swan Queen? She is human but also bird ... So it is no way a copy of Swan Lake! It is more that I have taken the essence over and made my very own Brahms ballet out of it. It has also tonnes of links to La Bayadere, Coppelia and other works. What separates your style from other contemporary choreographers? Well, I think it is very hard to pin me down, maybe because I react so much to the musical world which changes my step material all the time. Of course you can still recognise a 'SchlEnpfer' by now. Maybe the grounded way I use point shoes is unique in my ballets. They are like a "weapon" for the women - a great one. My dancers hammer them into the ground! I look for a true natural speech behind a very strong ballet technique. I still want to see the individual human being but it is hard for me to tell you what makes me different. One of the missions of the ROHM is to foster cross-cultural communication. How can dance be a part of this? Dance is an international art form, meaning, that it is based on ritual and emotional truth, body language and not words. These basics are everywhere among human beings -- as different as our cultural heritage may be. I am very happy to be able to bring that what we believe, into the ROHM and the Oman. I am very honoured and grateful for the invitation! Modern ballet isn't well-known in Oman, so what would you say to encourage people to come and see the Ballett am Rhein? Come, be curious and watch! Let the senses take in what is shown, let the mind step back. Not wanting to understand is important to estimate contemporary ballet. Dance needs a different way of being a recipient. Not insisting on a story line; letting oneself go along kinaesthetically with the movements shown on stage. It is an art form that has to be taken in by all senses. You have to be alert, awake, open minded and let go of images of what ballet should or should not be.

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Publication:Times of Oman (Muscat, Oman)
Article Type:Interview
Geographic Code:7OMAN
Date:Nov 10, 2014
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