Dance: Swiss movement

Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève performs in Tel Aviv.

December 8, 2016 18:22
2 minute read.
Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève

Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève. (photo credit: PR)

The Swiss are known for their fineries – fine chocolate, fine watches, fine banks… The program for the Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève’s upcoming performances in Israel falls perfectly in line with Switzerland’s knack for luxury.

Consisting of two works, Lux by Swiss choreographer Ken Ossola and Glory by Greek choreographer Andonis Foniadakis, the evening blends beautiful music, deft movement and stark aesthetics.

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The company was formed in 1962 as a resident ballet company within the Grand Théâtre de Genève.

Since its inception, the goal of the company has remained the same – to present the highest level of dance to local and international audiences.

“Our artistic goals for the company are to keep our outstanding reputation of true creative originality.

Many companies around the world perform similar and sometimes parallel dance styles in nature.

Whereas we strive to maintain our individuality and unique freedom of expression,” explains artistic director Philippe Cohen.

Cohen was born in Morocco in 1953. At 18, he began studying dance at the Rosella Hightower International Dance Center in Cannes, where he would later serve as the ballet master for The Jeune Ballet de France. After more than three decades in France, Cohen relocated to Switzerland in 2003, to take over the reins of the Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève.

In his 13 years at the helm of the troupe, Cohen has introduced a long list of works to the company’s repertoire, offering a platform for up-and-coming classical and neoclassical choreographers. The program the company will present in Israel is a perfect example of Cohen’s handiwork. Lux and Glory, while created by different artists, share a common ground, which Cohen sees as a “poetic, sensitive apotheosis.”

“Our artistic goals coincide with our selection of choreographers for the company,” Cohen says. “We search for a new style of movement and concept that will enhance and enrich our dancers and artistic team.”

Ken Ossola began his life as a dancer studying at the Geneva Dance School. In 1989, he moved to The Netherlands to join Netherlands Dance Theater II, where he spent three years before moving up to the main company. Under the artistic direction of legendary choreographer Jiri Kylian, Ossola was elemental in many famous creations. Since 1999, Ossola has been working as an independent choreographer, creating works for top companies.

Lux is a ballet for a large ensemble, set to music by Gabriel Fauré. The piece takes full advantage of the ballet company’s dancers’ versatility and technical prowess. Ossola cleverly weaves intimate moments into mass scenes in a ballet that is touching and impressive.

Andonis Foniadakis was born and raised in Greece. His dancing took him to Switzerland, where he established himself as a charismatic dancer and innovative choreographer. He has created works for companies throughout Europe and farther afield. Glory is an esthetic feat. Using props, costumes and movement, Foniadakis fills the stage with flowing fabric, fostering an otherworldly feel. The work seems to touch on spirituality and hope with a touch of humor.

Since its premiere, Ossola and Foniadakis’ evening has been a major success for Ballet Geneva.

“The company has many diverse and uniquely created ballets in its repertoire. Our evening, Lux and Glory, has toured in many distant and local countries. It is a triumphant performance,” says Cohen.

Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève will perform on December 19, 20 and 21 at the Opera House in Tel Aviv. For more information, visit

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