The Stuttgart Ballet blog

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May 21st 1978: World Premiere My Brother, My Sisters

ON THIS DAY 42 years ago Kenneth MacMillan’s ballet about siblings living in claustrophobic isolation premiered in Stuttgart. “Isolated by their environment and living conditions, a family is left alone to rely solely on their intelligence and their passions. With only themselves as playmates, their childhood fantasies become their real world,” wrote MacMillan about My Brother, My Sisters  in the cast sheet for the world premiere. The Scottish choreographer was inspired by the biography of the literary Brontë family as well as a story of suffering in a sanatorium. To orchestral works by Arnold Schönberg and Anton von Webern intense relationships unfolded on stage. While Richard Cragun danced the role of the brother, Birgit Keil, Lucia Isenring, Jean Allenby, Sylviane Bayard and Hilde Koch portrayed the sisters. Reid Anderson took on the mysterious role of HE. MacMillan revealed the secret of this ambiguous character only years later in an interview, stating that he regarded the role as his alter ego.

The former Artistic Director Reid Anderson and Lucia Isenring (Photo: Leslie Spatt)

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May 17th 1975: Premiere Return To A Strange Land

ON THIS DAY 45 years ago Jiří Kylián’s final version of Return To A Strange Land was premiered. A year earlier, the Czech choreographer, who was at that time a dancer of the Stuttgart Ballet, had created a first version dedicated to John Cranko, who had died in 1973. Expanded in 1975, the four-part piece dealt with the transition from one state of being to another. “The material that bodies are made of exists unconsciously in the hereafter. Life is consciousness. Dying is a return to a strange land – the country of origin”, said the choreographer. Though made for a cast of six, there were only three dancers on stage at a time. At the premiere Birgit Keil, Lucia Isenring, Heinz Clauss, Vladimir Klos, Christian Fallanga and William Forsythe circled around each other to Leoš Janáček’s music. Like the whole Stuttgart Ballet, Jiří Kylián stood at a turning point after John Cranko’s death. In 1975, the year that Return To A Strange Land premiered, he was engaged by the Nederlands Dans Theater and went on to lead the company to world fame through his vision and choreography.

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CHINA // OCTOBER 2016 (Day 1&2)

First things first: We have all arrived here safely. After an over 10 hour flight our Chinese colleagues picked us up from Shanghai Airport, we stuffed all our luggage into the buses and were taken to the hotel. After the long flight of course everybody was tired and jet lagged. However, some of the dancers took the opportunity of the arrival day to enjoy the Pudong Skyline. Also the first of us went to the theatre for (optional) class and the supers casting.

You will hear from us again, soon with more news from the tour – the next days will surely be more exciting than the travelling!

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CHINA // OCTOBER 2016 (Day 1)

This autumn the Stuttgart Ballet is going on tour again. We have been invited to dance in China! 

Today the whole company is travelling to Shanghai. Our suitcases are packed and loaded onto the bus :) Stay updated here in our tour diary and join us on our trip to China!

Our departure from Stuttgart. Get on the bus everybody! photo: private

Our departure from Stuttgart. Get on the bus everybody! photo: private

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Louis Stiens, photo: Roman Novitzky

Louis Stiens, photo: Roman Novitzky

Dear audience, dear friends!

I am writing to you from my home. Over the last months I have been collecting my current favorite songs and tracks for a playlist.

On Saturday, February 27, 2016 at 8pm I will be mixing and performing the compositions live at the Projektraum LOTTE (Willy-Brandt-Str. 18, next to the State Gallery). Originally I wanted to throw a party with some friends there – but in collaboration with James Fisher (lyrics) and Christine Nasz (space) we developed a multimedia-based production, which created a domestic cosmos.

„Early Night“ is based on my intimate desire to spend a Saturday night with my friends, listening to my favorite tracks and then have a great time, or weep and/or go back home.

This is the second time I realize a project at LOTTE (my choreography SLAM for Robert Robinson dates back two years now). Again I am looking forward to bring another music- and dance-inspired idea to life in this urban space.

Visit us!


Louis Stiens