First email from … Tokyo (May 30, 2012)
We arrived in Tokyo!
Here we are sending you a first message from Japan to say hello to all our fans who can’t meet us here on tour. The journey went well, but it was a very long and quite tiring trip.
The dancers had the first day off, many took the optional class though to get the inevitable stiffness from the long flight out of the muscles.
Our staff came together with the large team of our Japanese host to discuss all the details concerning technics, lighting, backstage procedures, press, rehearsals and so on.
Of course we HAD to go out to have Sushi the first night… delicious!
In the middle of the night there we were woken up by a tremble – scary for us (especially in a 30 floor hotel!), but absolutely normal for the Japanese, as it seems.
Today we started training and rehearsals in the studios of the Tokyo Ballet, there was a runthrough of The Taming of the Shrew and many Swan Lake rehearsals.
We go back and forth by sub, which gives us an exciting impression of Japanese city life.
Lots of love from the entire company
to all our friends and fans who cannot be here with us!
Photo diary part 01: 30.05.2012, Arrival in Tokyo
Photo diary part 02: Rehearsals and dress rehearsal for The Taming of the Shrew, 31.05.2012
After the premiere in Tokyo (June 1, 2012)
The curtain just closed after our first show of The Taming of the Shrew. Thanks to the Tokyo audiences for the warm and friendly welcome, that was fun!
We’re looking forward to the next performance tomorrow night.
Previously on tour … (June 4, 2012)
After three successful shows of The Taming of the Shrew the entire company, including staff, was invited to an elegant reception at the House of Mr. Sazaki, our host. The house is a veritable ballet museum, with uncountable paintings, drawings, sculptures and also old costumes – for example Marcia Haydée’s costume from Romeo and Juliet. We had an incredible meal, topped off by a huge cake. Of course the Stuttgart Ballet wanted to contribute to Mr. Sazakis collection – we brought a piece from a limited Meissen edition named the “Swan plate”, that has already found a nice spot in one of the numerous showcases.
We experiences two earthquakes already, something that is totally new to us: One was in the middle of the night and one in the afternoon, only an hour before the first performance! The Japanese technicians ran on stage immediately to get our staff members off, obviously they have a well-functioning warning system. Everything was shaking quite a lot, but during the performance it was quiet, then.
Today we are having the general rehearsal for Swan Lake, the premiere tomorrow is awaited with quite a lot of excitement by the audiences as Friedemann Vogel is a big star in Japan, and everone’s looking forward to seeing him and Alicia Amatriain dance the leading roles.
Lots of love to everyone from the entire company!
Photo diary part 03: Performances in Tokyo on June 2 and 3, 2012
Audience’s impressions (after a weekend with THE TAMNIG OF THE SHREW)
It was my first Stuttgart Ballet experience last night and The Taming of the Shrew was the funnest ballet I ever saw! Sue Jin and Filip were brilliant on stage (and of course the rest of the company too). Absolutely LOVED the comedy in the ballet!!:D
Thanks guys for an amazing experience, and toitoitoi for the rest of the performances. Will be back for Swan Lake and can’t wait!!
I saw the performances on June 1st and 2nd in Tokyo. (I returned HIROSHIMA today.)
On first of June a medium scale earthquake occurred near Tokyo, one hour before from performance started – but luckily after that everything was calm.
My impression of the permormance: It was very funny and impressive!
I have seen about 100 ballet performances in Japan before, all of very famous companies.
My absolute favorite one was Sue Jin Kang’s Onegin when she performed with the Stuttgart Ballet in 2008 in Tokyo. That was amazing!! At that time, I became an ardent fan of Sue Jin.
There might be ballet stars who are more famous in Japan than her but many people who could see her dance are deeply impressed by her performance.
This time, she was met by many fans at the back stage door after the performance
(They all waited for 1 hour after the last curtain).
Of course, Filip, Maria and Jason’s performances were excellent!!
I am looking forward to her next performance in Japan!!!
H. Yamane / Hiroshima, Japan
Email from … Tokyo (von Ami Morita)
I am sending you many greetings from Toyko! I am so happy to be dancing with the Stuttgart Ballet in Japan, my homeland.
I really enjoy the fact that my family is coming to watch me dance “big swans” in Swan Lake because they can not come so often to Stuttgart to watch me dance. It feels really good to be here!
I’m looking forward to seeing the Stuttgart friends and fans again, though, when we come back. But first our journey goes on to Nishinomiya, Otsu and then Seoul.
Take care, everybody, and many regards from Japan,
Photo diary part 04: Swan Lake premiere on June 5, 2012
Audience’s impressions (after the first Swan Lake show)
Yes, I’ve seen it!! It was beyond words. Great work, amazing dancers, beautiful costume and stage! Every bit was great! I wish I could see it forever…
Please Mr. Vogel, marry me!? Or at least give me feet like yours!?
Photo diary part 05: Special performance for school children an onward tour
Photo diary part 06: The Taming of the Shrew in Nishinomiya
Photo diary part 07: Last Swan Lake performance in Otsu
Arrival in Seoul (June 11, 2012)
The company arrived safely in Seoul, South Korea, today. We’re getting ready for three performances of John Neumeier’s The Lady of the Camellias. First thing today was an official press conference introducing Artistic Director Reid Anderson as well as Sue Jin Kang and Marijn Rademaker who will be dancing the leading roles of Marguerite Gautier and Armand Duval in this beautiful, tragic ballet.
Photo diary part 08: The first days in Seoul
Previously on tour …
From Japan to South Korea
we’ve escaped the rain and arrived in Seoul!
After our last performance in Japan at the beautiful Biwako Hall, located next to the biggest inland lake of Japan, the company travelled on to South Korea.
The first night we had a press conference with Sue Jin Kang, the Artistic Director Reid Anderson and Marijn Rademaker. There were 12 TV channels, 23 photographers and 35 print journalists present, it was amazing, it was a flurry of flashbulbs… afterwards, our host Credia invited the entire company plus technical, make-up and costume staff to a reception – we had a truly good start in Seoul!
Tuesday night Sue Jin Kang was the only guest on a one hour TV Talkshow, where she totally twisted four show hosts around her little finger.
The dancers have found their favourite spot in the pretty roof garden of our Hotel, with trees and flowers and deck chairs. But there is not much time to hang out as we are heading for the general rehearsal tonight and for the premiere tomorrow night at the Sejong Center. “The Lady of the Camellias” in front of 3.000 spectators, we’re excited!
Lots of love from warm and sunny Seoul,
your Stuttgart Ballet company
Audience’s assistance (before the premiere in Seoul)
I am a huge fan of Stuttgarter Ballett, and I am so excited for you to come to Korea this June!
I have read the interview piece of Sue Jin Kang that you posted on Facebook, and I am not sure whether anybody has translated this article, but here it is. I have not had a chance to see your performance even when I was in New York, but I am so glad that I will be getting to see a performance in Korea. Without a further ado, here is the translated article:
(The original article is unfortunately no longer available online).
Sue Jin Kang, visiting Korea for her performance as the prima donna* of The Lady of the Camellias, remarked that she is “not thinking about retiring anytime soon.”
On [June] 11th, Sue Jin Kang, Marijin Rademaker, and the Artistic Director Reid Anderson attended the press conference for The Lady of the Camellias at the Somerset Palace in Anguk-dong, Seoul.
“With the last full-length ballet performance in Korea ahead of me, people ask when I will retire. [But] I do not know. I have not planned when exactly I will retire, whether it will be in 5 years or in the near future. However, it will be my last time performing a full-length piece in Korea. I am not thinking about retiring any time soon,” voiced Sue Jin Kang on the topic of retirement.
In addition, she said, “I thought a lot about retiring when I was in my 30s. Frankly, I thought I would retire after I turn 40. After I turned 40, however, [performing] got more fun. In the end, I would have to retire, but what is more important to me now is living today to the fullest and performing. [And that is why] each and every day is very important [to me]. However, I do want to retire when I am at the climax [of my career],” hinting at the future possibility of retirement.
On the question of how she will educate [and train] younger ballerinas after her retirement, she affirmed, saying “I will be definitely spending my time training and helping them, but I will think about how I can dedicate my best efforts to help them when the time comes.” She added, “What is always important to me the most is today, this minute, and each day, until I go to bed. Through many experiences, I have learned that “today” is important in life. Consequently, although I have future plans in my mind, I think it will be wasting my time if I get stressed out about it now. One thing that I can say with certainty is that I will be dedicating rest of my life for the younger generation of ballerinas [after my retirement].”
In The Lady of the Camellias, Sue Jin Kang will be performing as Marguerite Gautier, the most popular and beautiful of the “courtisanes.” The Lady of the Camellias is one of the major drama-ballet classics and one of the main performances of the Stuttgarter Ballett. The performance, originally written as a novel by Alexandre Dumas, fils, entails a love story between the “courtisane” Marguerite Gautier and a young bourgeois Armand Duval.
In addition, Sue Jin Kang received Prix Benois de Danse (equivalent to “Oscars Award” for ballerinas) for her role as Marguerite in The Lady of the Camellias. This was the first time an Asian-descent received Prix Benois de Dance prize.
The Stuttgarter Ballett returns to Korea after 10 years since 2002 with its performance of The Lady of the Camellias on June 15th-17th at the Sejong Performance Art Center.
* They probably meant the “leading female role”
Thank you for coming to Korea, and see you on Friday!
Email from … Seoul (Sue Jin Kang and Marijn Rademaker)
Sue Jin Kang and Marijn Rademaker, who will be having their premiere in The Lady of the Camellias with the Stuttgart Ballet on Friday night in Seoul, send an e-mail to all friends and fans:
“I am so happy to be performing in my home town and to be able to perform for my fellow Koreans. It is a great honour for me to be able to share the beautiful Stuttgart Ballet and this extraordinary ballet of John Neumeier with the people of Seoul. Die Kameliendame is so close to my heart and I can’t wait for the curtain to go up tonight!” (Sue Jin Kang)
“It is fantastic to be able to dance here in South Korea with Sue Jin Kang. I feel a great responsibility as her partner but also tremendous excitement to be standing at her side. I think I speak for the whole Stuttgart Ballet when I say that we are very honoured to be performing here in the Sejong Center tonight and this weekend.”(Marijn Rademaker)
Toi toi toi to everyone on and behind the stage!
Audience’s impressions (June 18, 2012)
I saw 5 performances in Japan (all 3 of “Taming of Shrew” in Tokyo, Evan’s “Swan Lake” in Tokyo and Biwako) and 3 performances in Korea. All of them were really wonderful! Especially “The Lady of Camellias” was amazingly impressive.
During all 3 days, I cried so many times with the performances. The partnership between Sue-Jin and Marijin was perfect. They really seemed to BE Marguerite and Armand.
The other dancers’ performance was also very nice, I especially loved Alicia and Evan as a couple (Manon and Des Grieux).
The next time, please bring “The Lady of Camellias” to Japan also, the Japanese audience should experience more of how impressive your company’s performance is.
Anyway, thank you very much for these wonderful days.
Kiyoka Sugimoto in Japan
Photo diary part 09: Performances in Seoul, June 15-18, 2012
Going home (June 18, 2012)
After three performances of The Lady of the Camellias for an unbelievable audience and beautiful days spent with our hosts in sunny Seoul, we now packed our bags and go home to Stuttgart today. How fast did these three weeks on tour go by…?!?
Thanks again to everybody for the warm welcome and the nice time we had, we’re very happy and will never forget the experiences we were allowed to make!
While we’re sad to go and say goodbye for now, it is also nice to go home – there’s a lot to do before summer break: We’re up to two more shows of The Lady and the Fool/Gaîté Parisienne (June 29 / 30), preparing the goodbye-Gala for our Resident Choreographer Christian Spuck (July 7th) and bringing Cranko’s Onegin back on stage, with Public Viewing at Ballet in the Park on July 15th.
Onwards to new ventures!