Sweden’s Göteborg Ballet puts three new spins on the French composer’s
Bolero Photo: Courtesy
Bolero is a genre of slow-tempo Latin music. It is also the name of Maurice
Ravel’s famous orchestral piece, composed for Russian ballerina Ida Rubenstein.
For centuries, the Bolero has been adopted, interpreted and enjoyed by musicians
and dancers the world over. This month, Sweden’s Göteborg Ballet will perform
their take on the Bolero, entitled “3xBolero” at the Tel Aviv Performing Arts
The evening presents three different visions of the Bolero by
three acclaimed Nordic choreographers. Under the leadership of Göteborg Ballet’s
artistic director Adolphe Binder, the three dance-makers were encouraged to
challenge their perception of the music and to take the Bolero to places it had
never been before.
“Israel has such a strong dance audience,” said Binder
in a recent interview with The Jerusalem Post. “We are very excited to present
this evening there.”
In Kenneth Kvanstrom’s OreloB, Ravel has been
carefully intertwined with the electronic beats of Jukka Rintamaki’s turntables,
making for an urbanized version of this style.
“Keith brought in a
composer to remake the Bolero, using the frame of Ravel,” explains Binder. The
movement and music in Kvanstrom’s piece are perfectly wed, creating an
entrancing harmony between bodies and sound. Kvanstrom has been a major figure
in European dance for nearly 20 years. He has directed K.
Co., Helsinki City Dance Theater and Dansens Hus in Stockholm and has been
commissioned to choreograph works for companies in Australia and throughout
During the time that Johan Inger choreographed Walking Mad, he
was slightly obsessed by old footage of Zubin Mehta conducting the Los Angeles
Philharmonic Orchestra. In the black-and-white film, Inger found the key to the
Bolero. What begins as a quiet, gradual piece becomes wild, expressive and
intense. Originally choreographed for Netherlands Dance Theater in 2001, Walking
Mad is a highly visual interpretation of the Bolero.
“Johan has made two
ballets for us.
His Bolero is a crazy, different approach to the piece,”
“He took Boleros from all over the world. It’s very open and
Alexander Ekman found his Bolero in a variety of sources,
including the breathing of his dancers. Switching between pre-recorded
orchestrations of the music to live a cappella sound, Ekman’s score hints at the
many incarnations of Ravel’s piece over time. Episode 17 was commissioned by
Göteborg Ballet in 2008 and is a frantic, energized take on the
The “3xBolero” program is one of many projects initiated by
Binder since her appointment as artistic director in 2011. Before arriving in
Sweden, she lived in Berlin for many years, where she served as artistic
director for the Berlin Ballet and as an advisor to the Deutsch
With 40 dancers from more than 20 countries, ranging from 20 to 40+
years of age, Göteborg Ballet is the perfect vehicle for Binder’s ideas. “We
have a great troupe of fantastic dancers. With dancers from so many places, we
have a microcosm of the cultural collisions of modern life.
When I look
for dancers, I’m actually looking for performers who can embrace the future of
the performing arts, who are open to use voice, language and translation from
meaning into movement. My job is to take them all and guide them into the future
that is changing.”
For Binder, who never took an interest in making her
own pieces but dedicated herself to promoting the works of emerging and
established artists, Göteborg Ballet offers a unique opportunity to pave a new
path in the dance community.
“The exciting thing is the possibility to
strategically develop a vision, but to form through the programming a vision
that guides into the future to reflect on subjects through this interesting art
form. We have a responsibility to bring things into the eye of the public that
are probably understood differently in spoken form.
The art form of dance
has huge potential in this area,” she says.
Göteborg Ballet will perform
“3xBolero” at TAPAC from May 29 through June 2. For more information, visit