Bavarian State Ballet

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The Prinzregententheater in Munich - Bogenhausen is one of the venues of the Bavarian State Ballet
The interior of the Prinzregententheater at the beginning of the 20th century
The National Theater - one of the venues of the Bavarian State Ballet
The auditorium of the National Theater

The Bavarian State Ballet in Munich was established in 1990 as an independent ballet company from the ensemble of the ballet of the Bavarian State Opera . The founder Konstanze Vernon headed the company until 1997, followed by the German - Czech dancer Ivan Liška (until 2016). Igor Selenski has headed the ensemble since August 2016 .

The Bavarian State Ballet consists of an international ensemble and has a diverse repertoire that includes over 70 works from Romanticism to (Neo) Classics to pieces from the 21st century.

History of the ballet at the Munich State Opera

Beginning of ballet in Munich

Ballet history began in Munich with the emergence of a courtly festival culture, in which ballet was also developed as an art form . The court festivals in Munich were based on the predominant French and Italian models of the 16th and 17th centuries.

19th century

During the 19th century, famous dancers such as Paul and Marie Taglioni performed in the National Theater in 1825 . At the request of the dancer Lola Montez , the ballet Giselle , which had been rehearsed two years earlier, was performed again. The Giselle production was successful for decades and was redesigned for a guest performance by the ballerina Lucile Grahn . In 1869, Lucile Grahn settled in Munich and worked as a ballet master at the National Theater until 1875 . She studied the ballets Coppélia and Sylvia and was involved in the dance design of Richard Wagner's operas Rheingold , Tannhäuser and Meistersinger .

20th century

After the Second World War , Marcel Luipart revitalized ballet in Munich. He met with the members of the ensemble in a hall of the bombed National Theater. A number of successful ballet productions emerged under Luipart, mostly from the repertoire of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes . He adapted the template and caused a theatrical scandal when he premiered Werner Egks Abraxas in 1948 . After only five performances, the Minister of Education ordered the work to be discontinued “because of the excessive freedom of movement”.

Victor Gsovsky succeeded Luitpart as ballet director. He combined innovative choreographic tendencies with Russian dance tradition. Ballerina Irene Skorik came with him from Paris . Subsequently, between 1952 and 1954 Pia and Pino Mlakar led the dance ensemble, which also brought some of Gsovsky's works back onto the stage.

Alan Carter and his wife Joan Harris brought the " English School " to Munich. The following ballet director, Heinz Rosen, worked with the dancers trained by Carter for almost ten years from 1959. He relied on the dramatic effect of body lines in space, but used a dance vocabulary that was rather poor in variation.

With the introduction of the Ballet Festival Week in 1960, Heinz Rosen brought the international ballet world to Munich. Soloists from the western dance metropolises New York , London and Copenhagen as well as the Bolshoi Ballet performed at gala evenings . The first foreign guest appearances in Europe followed.

Until the National Theater reopened in 1963, the Prinzregententheater served as a venue, which after its reopening in 1996 now serves as the second venue for the Bavarian State Ballet.

Various ballet directors took turns from the late 1960s to the late 1980s. The years 1968 to 1970 were decisive here, when John Cranko directed the ballet in Munich parallel to his work in Stuttgart . During this time he staged three action ballets : Onegin , Romeo and Juliet and The Taming of the Shrew , which are still an important part of the repertoire of the Bavarian State Ballet. Cranko's artistic influence continued during the time of his successor, Roland Hynd .

Director Dieter Gackstetter brought Jerome Robbins to his first job with a German ballet company. The dramatic ballerina Lynn Seymour was able to win William Forsythe for a world premiere in Munich and took care of the acquisition of La Sylphide , a work by August Bournonville , which is still part of the repertoire today. The director Edmund Gleede brought Youri Vámos to Munich, who was meanwhile one of the most important choreographers in Europe. David Bintley was brought to Munich by Stefan Erler for his first job in Germany . The dancers Ivan Liska and Colleen Scott were active in Munich in the mid-1970s and returned to the company more than 20 years later as director and ballet master.

The period from the late 1960s to the late 1980s was characterized in particular by growing tensions between ballet directors and opera directors . These tensions eventually became so strong that it hardly seemed possible to find a suitable ballet director.

The decisive impetus for a fundamental change in this situation came from Konstanze Vernon , a leading ballerina in Munich in the 1960s and 1970s. She had converted the opera ballet school into a state ballet academy in connection with the establishment of the Heinz Bosl Foundation . The Ballet Academy became a Munich institution with a worldwide presence, which was the first academy in Germany to switch to the Russian Waganowa system in training, so that Russian dance teachers were active in Munich long before the fall of the Berlin Wall . International competition successes followed, so that Munich was soon traded as one of the best addresses for dancer training.

20./21. century

In 1988 the Bavarian State Government decided to equate ballet with opera and drama. The founding director Konstanze Vernon used the 1989/90 season for preparation and restructuring, the ballet was initially renamed from "Ballet of the Bavarian State Opera" to "Bavarian State Ballet in Foundation" and from 1990/91 to "Bavarian State Ballet". From the 1990/91 season, the Bavarian State Ballet acted as an independent division under the direction of Vernon, which, like the State Opera Director, had a contract with the responsible Minister of State. Since then, the Bavarian State Ballet and the Bavarian State Opera have shared the National Theater, the Cuvilliéstheater and the Prinzregententheater as venues. The Prinzregententheater in particular was expanded in 1996 at the instigation of August Everding as a second venue for the Bavarian State Ballet and equipped with contemporary stage machinery.

Under Konstanze Vernon's direction, the State Ballet pursued a consistent, long-term repertoire policy and used the new opportunities as an independent branch. Through their contacts and the knowledge of their two artistic collaborators, Bettina Wagner-Bergelt (modern) and Wolfgang Oberender (classical), it was possible to win choreographers such as Lucinda Childs , Hans van Manen , Jiří Kylián , John Neumeier , Angelin Preljocaj and Mats Ek .

Vernon was succeeded by Ivan Liška in September 1998 , after having been one of the most important soloists of the Hamburg Ballet under John Neumeier for more than two decades.

In August 2016, the Russian Igor Selenski took over the management of the Bavarian State Ballet, who had already performed several times as an internationally acclaimed guest dancer with the Munich ensemble. He paid particular attention to maintaining and expanding the repertoire, which was quickly expanded to include works by choreographers such as Yuri Grigorovich, Christopher Wheeldon, Wayne McGregor, Christian Spuck, George Balanchine and Andrey Kaydanovskiy.

Today the repertoire of the Bavarian State Ballet includes more than 70 works from the Romantic period to classics of the 21st century. There are also outstanding works by Kylian, Balanchine, Jerome Robbins and Hans van Manen, pieces by important modern dance representatives such as Lucinda Childs , Twyla Tharp, Angelin Prejocaj, William Forsythe and the avant-garde; Saburo Teshigawara, Richard Siegal, Simone Sandroni u. v. a.

The ensemble regularly goes on tours abroad and has visited countries in Europe (Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, Poland, CIS / Russia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, etc.), Asia (South Korea, India, China, Taiwan) and North America (USA, Canada) visited.

Web links


  1. Bavarian State Opera: Zelensky Igor. Retrieved May 8, 2018 .
  2. ^ History of the Bavarian State Ballet ( Memento from February 25, 2014 in the Internet Archive )