Nikolaj Hübbe presents next seasons repertoire with a healthy dose of Robbins, Balanchine and a new big Neumeier production.
It is now official that both Kristoffer Sakurai and Yao Wei have resigned from the company.
As Denmark is fighting to get out of the financial crunch, money is tight at the Royal Danish Ballet as it is at other European Opera Houses. In Copenhagen part of the problem is that the new opera and drama house is expensive to run. Hence production budgets are smaller and that set the ballet master with the difficult choice to select a season programme with smaller margins for success. Nikolaj Hübbe managed to create a good season repertoire by making intelligent choices and clever recycling and spend money where it maximize quality and public appeal.
The two great productions for next season will be the Balanchine "Nutcracker", which is almost a Europea premiere. The production will have new decor and costumes and Hübbe will direct together with Balanchine trust directors. It is Hübbe's plan to let "The Nutcracker" share the annual christmas duty with Wheeldon's "Sleeping Beauty" and maybe "A Folk Tale". The Balanchine version will take over from the former non succesfull version by Kenneth Greve and Peter Langdal.
The second major programme will be John Neumeier's "Lady of the Camille" . The company have a long succesfull relationship with John Neumeier, and "Camille" is a sure choice for a company who has a long and succesfull track records in dramatic works like "Onegin" and "Manon." The production is designed by Jürgen Rose, whose credits include "Onegin", "Romeo and Juliet" and a "Midsummer Night's Dream".
Black, White or Strawinsky
While NYCB is packating their Balanchine heritage in cordinated colours, Hübbe is celebrating the Balanchine Strawinsky relationship by producing an evening consisting of "Apollon", "Agon" and "Strawinsky Symphony in 3 Movements". All three works have previously been part of the repertoire, but never presented in the same programme. "Donizetti Variations" will be part of an evening with Thomas Lund's take on the female Bournonville steps, a companion for his succesfull "Bournonville Variations" for the men and Harald Lander's "Etudes". This programme represents interpretations of the Danish heritage.
Hübbe continues the growing Robbins repertoire by combining "West Side Story Suite, "The Concert", "Other Dances" and "The Cage" to a Broadway themed evening.
"The Concert" will also be part of next seasons "DancetoGo" with Flemming Flindt's " The Lesson" and a Pas de Deux. The DancetoGo franchise is an outreach effort to attract new audience and have had a very successfull first season. "The Lesson" will also form an evening with "La Sylphide" and Bournonville wise " A Folk's Tale" will earn a second season.
A Modern Twist
The last programme of the season will consist of five works by Wayne McGregor (Chroma), Tina Tanggaard (dew), Paul Lightfoot and Sol Léon (Shutters Shut),Yuri Possokhov(tba) and Patrick Delcroix (tba).
Esther Lee Wilkinson will choreograph a dance themed version of Danish classic "The Neglected Spring" for the young dancers and aspirants in line with Louise Midjord's "Othello" two seasons back, and for the youngest audience Thomas Lund's "Teddy, Let's Ballet" make a return.
There will be guest performance by Angelin Preljocaj's company and Danish Dance Thetre and RDB will perform "Napoli" in Paris.
Coming and Goings
Silja Schandorff has been appointed Vice Ballet Master after a success period as Artistic Coordinator. Henning Albrectsen and Christina Olsson will lead a new initiative for pre school children. More than 300 has apllied for the ballet school, the highest number in several decades. Flemming Ryberg will officially retire but continue to perform on occation with the company. And Yao Wei and Kristoffer Sakurai have left the company prematurely and will take up news careers.
The Lost Prince
Allthough Kristoffer Sakurai have decided to leave without public notion, the leaving of a dancer of his calibre can not be unnoticed. Since his early youth much hope was placed in the charismatic dancer, whose poise, elegance and musicality gave promise of a romantic danseur noble. At the Bournonville Festival in 2005 , Sakurai was made principal based on his strong Bournonville performances in "Napoli", "The Kermess in Brügge", and "La Sylphide". Later he added "Romeo" and Siegfriid to his repertoire as well as a number of standard works. But injury upon injury marred his career and he has now at the age of 30 decided to stop and will pursue a career in the fashion industry. He will be missed by the audience as his special qualities, including impeccable lines is not a standard requirement among male dancers.
A ballerina made in China
That Yai Wei should leave RDB less than two year after being made principal was totally unexpected. During her long association with the company she had dance a growing repertoire including "Swan Lake", "The Little Mermaid", Tatiana in "Onegin" and "Giselle", but health issue have kept away frm the stage for a longer period and after having received the offer to lead her own school back in China, Yao Wei have decided to give this new assignment her all.
Photos: Royal Danish Ballet