Press and Medias
DREAM AWAY BY STEPHAN THOSS
A JOURNEY INTO NEW TERRITORY
Photo: Damian Siqueiros / zetaproduction.com | Dancers: Bryna Catherine Pascoe & Edi Blloshmi
Dreams in the making. After the succes of Searching for Home, which The Montreal Gazette named Best Danse Show of 2011, artistic director Gradimir Pankov gave carte blanche to German choreographer Stephan Thoss for the creation of a full program. Until then known for his expressionistic works of great musicality, this talented artist is now exploring a new type of physicality, immersing us in the surrealistic world of dreams with Dream Away, a ballet made to measure for Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal. The recipient of a half-dozen prizes and distinctions, the young Leipzig-born choreographer has created over 80 choreographies, ranging from revisited classics to contemporary works, and he also designs his own sets and costumes. Since 2007, he has been the ballet director of the State Theater of Wiesbaden. This inspirational artist knows how to bring out the very best in Les Grands Ballets dancers.
A world of dreams
Although the suspense remains as to the exact nature of Dream Away (whose title may well change), Stephan Thoss has already prepared some interesting ground. Using the evocative powers of abstraction, he is placing the body at the heart of his research into the origins of movement. He is taking a surrealistic approach with his powerful images, which will be assembled into a puzzle for which only he has the key. His aim is to blur the boundaries between the real and the imaginary, to create a dream-like world in constant flux to undermine the certainties of viewers and dancers alike. The work could thus take the form of a resplendent audio-visual collage, to be approached with total abandon, as if luxuriating in the arms of Morpheus.
Gradimir Pankov’s choice
The Artistic Director of Les Grands Ballets has no regrets about his first collaboration with Stephan Thoss in 2011. The company restaged Searching for Home, a short piece for 16 dancers set to music by Philip Glass, which was first performed by the Wiesbaden Opera Ballet in 2008. Following the enthusiastic response elicited by Thoss’ journey into the mind of a woman discovering the multiple facets of her personality, Pankov wanted to showcase the choreographer’s rare talent for creating episodic yet coherent storylines. “He is amazingly dynamic, overflowing with energy, and he greatly impressed the company’s dancers. He transformed them, in fact, to the point where I could no longer recognize them,” declared Pankov. “Some of them seemed to recapture their youth in their roles in Searching for Home. One rather reserved dancer suddenly opened up like a flower, and everyone surprised me in one way or another. Stephan Thoss gives so much, he’s so inspirational that the dancers do everything they can to surpass themselves. They jumped for joy when they heard they were going to work with him again.” Showing complete confidence in the choreographer, Gradimir Pankov is giving Thoss free rein to choose the form and theme of his new work, with a view to producing a full-scale ballet for the company’s entire troupe of 38 dancers.
Born in Leipzig, Stephan Thoss trained at the Palluca School in Dresden, in the former East Germany, before studying German Expressionist dance based on the theories of Rudolf Laban. He has created over 80 works, including short solos and full-scale ballets, reinterpretations of such classics as Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake and The Rite of Spring, abstract and surrealist works such as Searching for Home and Irr-Garten, and even burlesque comedies like Boléro, No Cha-Cha-Cha and Carmencita. Always extremely musical and dynamic, his style changes from one production to the next. Thoss’ career as a dancer began in the 1980s as a soloist with the Dresden Opera, where he eventually assumed the role of resident choreographer in 1992. He also had stints with the Comic Opera Berlin and Staatstheater Kassel. In the years that followed, he created works for such celebrated companies as Stuttgart Ballet, Bavarian State Ballet, Hamburg Ballet, Balleto di Toscana, and Nederland Dans Theater 2. He directed his first ballets at the Kiev Theatre from 1998 to 2001, and then at the Hanover Opera House until 2007, before being named artistic director of the Wiesbaden Opera Ballet, whose image he modernized. The prizewinning choreographer designs his own sets and costumes. His works to date have been created almost exclusively at Wiesbaden, and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal consider it a great honour to be performing his new piece.
514 849-8681 poste 239
514 849-8681 poste 239